NRCS Announces Next Conservation Program Funding Cycle Ending March 17
Iowa farmers interested in implementing new conservation practices on their farms have until March 17, 2023 to apply for the next round of Farm Bill program assistance through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), including first-time funding through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
NRCS accepts program applications on a continuous basis but establishes batching and ranking dates as funding allows. Producers interested in signing up should visit or call their local NRCS field office. Preference may be given to farmers with an existing conservation plan.
The March 17 application cutoff includes the:
- Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE)
- Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
- Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program ACT NOW
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program – Conservation Incentive Contracts (EQIP-CIC)
All potential CSP and EQIP applications are included in the signup cutoff. Specific targets include historically underserved farmers, such as limited resource producers, socially disadvantaged farmers, and veterans.
Iowa NRCS also has several targeted conservation efforts such as Source Water Protection, watershed-based National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) and Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI), and statewide initiatives such as the Prairie Strips Initiative, Prairie Pothole Water Quality Initiative, Organic Initiative and Wildlife Habitats Initiative.
NRCS is rolling out ACT NOW during this signup period through selected EQIP priorities and initiatives. Through ACT NOW, NRCS can immediately approve and obligate a ranked application when an eligible application meets or exceeds a determined minimum ranking score.
The new IRA funds will be delivered through the primary programs NRCS already offers. Practices eligible through the IRA will focus on climate change mitigation and climate smart agriculture practices. In Iowa, areas of focus for climate smart agriculture include soil health, nutrient stewardship, and grazing and pasture lands. Eligible practices include cover crops, no-till, crop rotations, prescribed grazing, and nutrient management.For more information about conservation planning and programs to help you protect natural resources on your land, visit your local NRCS office or go to www.nrcs.usda.gov/IA
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