AMHERST, Mass., –- Do you own or manage farmland or forest land in Massachusetts? Could you use some technical and financial help in managing it more effectively? The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) encourages you to sign up for conservation assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) by Nov. 16, 2018.
You may apply for NRCS conservation programs at any time; complete applications are ranked for funding in batches periodically throughout the year. In Massachusetts, applications for assistance with high tunnels and conservation activity plans – as well as for projects under the National On-Farm Energy Initiative and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program – received by Nov. 16th, will be evaluated by Jan. 31, 2019.
Applications for practices to treat natural resource concerns not mentioned above will be accepted, but those applications will be processed after February 2019. A later cutoff date will be identified for those applications and will be posted on the Massachusetts NRCS website at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov.
“If you operate a farm or manage forest land and want to improve your land, we can help,” said Christine Clarke, State Conservationist for NRCS in Massachusetts. “A planner will discuss with you your vision for your land and will explain the conservation planning process and how to apply for financial assistance.”
EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and forest land owners to address natural resource concerns through an array of conservation practices. Assistance is available to support private land owners and managers in addressing farm, field, forest, wildlife, water, and/or plant management issues.
For more information, contact the NRCS field office at your local USDA service center. USDA Service Center locations are listed on-line at http://offices.usda.gov.
Some of the EQIP funding will be provided to farmers and forest landowners via the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which encourages partner organizations to join in efforts with producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales. Through the RCPP program, NRCS and its partners help producers install and maintain conservation activities in selected project areas.
NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with conservation districts and the people of Massachusetts to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources.