The Missouri USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced March 30th as the cut-off date to apply for Fiscal Year 2020 funds through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program -Environmental Quality Incentive Program (RCPP-EQIP).
EQIP allows farmers, ranchers, forestland managers, and landowners an opportunity to conserve natural resources by making available financial assistance to improve soil, water, air, plants, animals, and related resources.
“EQIP allows producers the opportunity to apply for financial assistance to address resource concerns on their land,” Acting State Conservationist Grover DePriest said.
Soil Health will be a priority again in Fiscal Year 2020. Along with helping row crop farmers increase organic matter and water-holding capacity, funding will be available for farmers and ranchers to incorporate pasture and hay land practices that improve soil health and resiliency to drought. Funding will also be available to address resource concerns through Agroforestry.
The March 30th application deadline also applies to the following initiatives:
High Tunnel Initiative– The purpose of the High Tunnel Initiative is to assist producers to extend the growing season for high-value crops in an environmentally safe manner. The practice has the potential to assist producers to address resource concerns by improving plant quality, improving soil quality, and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport.
Organic Initiative – The EQIP Organic Initiative assists eligible applicants to install conservation practices on agricultural operations related to organic production such as certified organic producers, producers transitioning to organic production, and certification exempt producers according to the USDA-National Organic Program.
On-Farm Energy Initiative– The EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative assists producers by identifying ways to conserve energy on the farm through an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP), also known as an on-farm energy audit; and by providing financial and technical assistance to help the producer implement recommendations and conservation practices identified in the audit plan.
National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)– The National Water Quality Initiative is a focused approach to assist landowners in priority watersheds to apply selected conservation practices to reduce the flow of sediment, nutrients and other runoff into impaired waterways. The FY20 priority watersheds are Lamar Lake – North Fork Spring River in Barton County, HUC 110702070206 and Headwaters Petite Creek in Cooper, Moniteau and Morgan Counties, HUC 103001020401.
Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI)– Two Missouri watersheds are among those selected in 13 States along the Mississippi River as part of continuing Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) efforts. The FY20 MRBI watersheds in Missouri are: Upper Apple Creek (HUC 071401050401) and Middle Apple Creek (HUC 071401050403) in Perry, Cape Girardeau, and Bollinger Counties; and Spring Branch-Elk Creek (HUC 102801031302) and Turkey Creek (HUC 102801031301) and Long Branch (HUC 102801031204) in Linn, Sullivan and Chariton Counties
Soil Health Cropland Initiative- The Soil Health Cropland Initiative is a state initiative focused on assisting cropland producers to address resource concerns associated with soil quality degradation to implement Soil Health Management Systems on their farms.
Agroforestry Initiative- The Agroforestry Initiative is a state initiative focused on assisting farmers in addressing resource concerns with Agroforestry practices. Agroforestry practices include Tree/Shrub Establishment, Alley Cropping, Windbreak/Shelterbelt, Silvopasture Establishment, Riparian Forest Buffer and more.
Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration Partnership – Missouri’s Central Ozark Glade, Woodland, and Native Diversity Restoration Project is one of 16 projects selected nationally for funding in FY20. This project will provide additional funding to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality and restore healthy forest ecosystems on private forestland in the following counties. Phelps, Pulaski, Texas, Howell, Douglas, Ozark, Christian, Taney, Stone, and Barry counties.
RCPP-EQIP Improving Working Lands for Monarch Butterflies – In partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Federation The project area for FY 20 is Worth, Gentry, Clinton, Harrison, Daviess, Caldwell, Ray, Mercer, Grundy, Livingston, and Carroll counties.
RCPP-EQIP Targeted Watershed Conservation – In partnership with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The project area for FY20 is the Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau Watershed (HUC 07140105) –which includes portions of Ste. Genevieve, Perry, Cape Girardeau, Scott, and Mississippi Counties
NRCS accepts applications for all its programs on a continuous basis, but an application must be filed for these programs by March 30, 2020, to be eligible for the next round of funding. Farmers can submit applications as local NRCS offices. NRCS also offers free technical assistance to all Missouri residents.
For more information about NRCS programs and assistance, visit the www.mo.nrcs.usda.gov or contact the NRCS service office serving your county. NRCS employees in county offices can provide more information about how to apply for benefits offered by NRCS.