U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) officials are touting record conservation funding for Iowa farmers and private landowners over the next year. 

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) accepts conservation program applications on a continuous basis but sets application cutoff dates as funding allows. NRCS recently set a Nov. 3 application cutoff for fiscal year 2024 Farm Bill conservation programs.  

Iowa agricultural producers and private landowners can apply for NRCS conservation programs by visiting their local NRCS office. Iowa has 100 NRCS field offices, located at USDA Service Centers

Programs & Practices Available
NRCS’ four primary conservation programs:

  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Wetland Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE)
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) 

In addition to traditional program funding for Iowa soil and water conservation practices like terraces, grassed waterways, and water and sediment control basins, there is targeted funding for climate-smart agriculture practices such as no-till, cover crops, conservation cover, crop rotations, nutrient management, prescribed grazing, tree-shrub establishment, and windbreak-shelterbelt establishment. 

Iowa NRCS will use the ACT NOW process for some EQIP and RCPP funding pools and projects. Through ACT NOW, NRCS can immediately approve and obligate a ranked application when an eligible application meets or exceeds a determined minimum ranking score. Iowa NRCS offices will be using ACT NOW through March 15, 2024.

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