Landowners or farm and ranch operators who have cropland, rangeland of forest land that might benefit from an Environmental Quality Incentives Program plan have until Nov. 16 to make an application. However, those applicants who request a plan by Aug. 31 will get additional points in the ranking process.
"I encourage landowners to apply at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service field off ice by the end of August," said Kansas State Conservationist Eric Banks.
In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers receive a higher payment rate for conservation practices related to EQIP.
"NRCS believes it is important that landowners and/or producers have a conservation plan on their land," said Banks. "NRCS planners are available in every county. The planner will walk your land with you and listen to your goals and ideas relating to conserving your natural resources—soil, water, air, plants, and animals. From your input, the planner will develop the plan and discuss it with you, making sure it is what you envisioned.
"The conservation plan is provided free of charge," said Banks, "and you will be ready to signup for Farm Bill programs as they are announced."
Taking the time to invest in the development of a conservation plan allows producers to combine their farming skills with science-based knowledge and the skill of the conservation planner. With alternatives provided by the NRCS planner, producers can select the best possible combination of conservation practices to meet natural resource needs and individual management production goals. Additional benefits of a conservation plan include helping producers meet environmental regulations, qualify for various USDA conservation programs, and establish a reasonable schedule for applying needed conservation practices that fits a producer's timeline and available resources. Addressing resource concerns through a comprehensive conservation plan can also boost the financial value of the land itself for the future.
For more information on how you can get started developing a conservation plan and be ready for the next conservation program signup, contact your local USDA Service Center and visit the NRCS office. To find a service center near you, check in your telephone book under "United States Government" or on the Internet at offices.usda.gov.
Information about NRCS in Kansas is available at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov.