Part of a successful farm management relationship is tailoring services to landowner’s long term goals and expectations. Landowners interested in adding and improving conservation practices on their farm have a local resource in the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office. To qualify, a person must be an owner of agricultural or forest land, or be engaged in agricultural or forest production on cropland, rangeland, pastureland, or forestland.
Owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on that land may apply to participate in EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands. The applicant must own or have control of the land and must be in compliance with existing conservation requirements.
One NRCS option, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), provides participants with financial and technical assistance to apply new conservation practices to their land. Many conservation practices are eligible for assistance with payments made after implementation of the practice outlined in the EQIP plan of operation. Eligible practices include improvements in air quality, manure management, soil heath, water quality, and livestock facilities.
EQIP applications are competitively ranked annually within their own category on factors including the environmental impact and efficiency. Financial assistance is provided to higher ranked applications until the allotted funds are exhausted for a given year.
The first step in making conversation improvements to your farm is to contact the local NRCS office. Most likely your local Halderman representative already has a relationship with the office from previous projects. Each farm offers unique challenges to improving conservation. What practices are currently in place on your farm? What are your conservation goals for your farm?