Providing Conservation Practices to Improve Soil Health and Protect Natural Resources

Madison, Wis. – January 17, 2017 − Farmers will want to plan ahead and sign up early for USDA conservation funding. Maggie Rhodes, USDA−Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist in Wisconsin, announced farmers interested in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) need to apply by March 3, 2017, for funding in 2017. Applications are being taken at all USDA Service Centers in Wisconsin.

EQIP is the primary program available to farmers for farm and woodland conservation work, offering payments for over 110 basic conservation practices. Last year, Wisconsin received about $21 million in funds for EQIP practices.

“By getting applications in early, we have time for staff to visit individual farms to help plan all practices needed and offer advice,” said Rhodes. All eligible applications received by March 3, 2017, will be evaluated and ranked for funding in 2017. Farmers may contact their local USDA Service Center to get started on producer eligibility and planning. Rhodes reminds farmers who are interested in practices that may require permits, such as manure storage or streambank restoration, to begin planning and seeking permits as soon as possible. Applicants with shovel-ready projects (designs completed and permits obtained) will receive higher priority.

Signup by March 3, 2017 for Several Special Initiatives Focusing on Conservation Efforts

Honey Bee: The upper Midwest is the resting ground for over 65 percent of commercially managed honey bees in the country. The NRCS is helping farmers and landowners implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. Pasture management, wildlife habitat, and appropriate cover crops are used as tools to improve the health of our honey bees, which support more than $15 billion worth of agricultural production.

Read full press release here