Iowa farmers interested in signing up to implement conservation practices on their farms have until April 8 to apply for USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications at USDA Service Centers statewide.
Through EQIP, the NRCS provides conservation planning and financial assistance to implement conservation practices such as no-till, cover crops, terraces, grassed waterways, nutrient management, and pasture management.
NRCS accepts program applications on a continuous basis but sets program application cutoff dates as funding allows. This signup is the second for EQIP in Iowa during Fiscal Year 2022. “We are seeking additional applications for many of our conservation initiatives and targeted conservation efforts,” said Sam Adams, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Programs in Iowa.
The April 8 signup cutoff includes all potential EQIP applications. Specific targets include:
- Conservation practices related to pasture improvement, such as prescribed grazing, forage and biomass planning, and watering facilities.
- Wildlife habitat-improving practices such as forest stand improvement, upland wildlife habitat management, tree/shrub establishment, and windbreaks.
- Conservation on wet areas in the Prairie Pothole region, which includes primarily two practices: conservation cover and wetland wildlife habitat management.
- Practices to support the new Prairie Strips Initiative, including contour buffer strips, filter strips and field borders.
- Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI) projects in Iowa, including practices such as cover crops, nutrient management, denitrifying bioreactors, and saturated buffers that help improve water quality.
- Practices that address groundwater or surface water protection in targeted areas of Iowa. A long list of eligible practices includes grassed waterways, ponds, grade stabilization structures, and conservation crop rotations.
Eligibility for some NRCS programs and initiatives requires farming in specific counties or watersheds. For information about targeted conservation programs in your area, visit your local NRCS office. Additional information is available at www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov.