COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 14, 2014 – The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), has several new options for agricultural producers and forest landowners to conserve energy, improve air quality, enhance organic operations, and achieve other environmental benefits.
State Conservationist Terry Cosby says, “The purpose of EQIP is to help landowners and managers keep agricultural land productive by applying conservation practices to reduce soil erosion, improve soil quality, and protect water quality. The conservation options available through EQIP now include additional conservation opportunities for specific types of farming and natural resource issues.”
These EQIP options include:
• On-Farm Energy Initiative: helps producers conserve energy on their operations.
• Organic Initiative: helps certified organic producers or those working toward organic certification to install conservation practices on their land.
• Air Quality Initiative: helps producers improve air quality by establishing conservation practices that sequester carbon, mitigate odors, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This option is available to producers in Ashtabula, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Geauga, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Madison, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, and Warren Counties.
EQIP provides financial assistance for a variety of conservation activities, such as nutrient management, reduced tillage, field buffers, rotational grazing systems, and much more. The application deadline for this signup period is February 21, 2014. To learn more or to apply for EQIP, contact your county NRCS office. An on-line office locator is available at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs.