Growers interested in implementing programs that promote environmental quality along with agricultural production may apply to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for financial and technical help. EQIP, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, was authorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.
The voluntary program offers incentive payments and cost-shares to implement conservation practices that the producer might not otherwise be able to afford. Incentive payments are provided for up to three years. EQIP may cost-share up to 75 percent of the costs of certain conservation practices, and limited resource producers and beginning farmers may be eligible for up to a 90-percent cost-share. The cost-share or incentive payments that any one producer may receive under all EQIP contracts cannot exceed $450,000.
EQIP activities are conducted according to a plan developed in conjunction with the producer. The plan is subject to approval by the local conservation district.
Nurseries interested in implementing conservation practices should consider applying for funds. Applications are taken at any time, and are available online. The Web site provides a general overview of the program, along with state-specific information and requirements. For more information, go to www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/ .