The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for special conservation initiatives funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to help producers conserve energy, address resource concerns on certified organic operations or those transitioning to organic production, and achieve a number of other environmental benefits.
Applications must be received by Feb. 15 to be considered in the next round of funding.
NRCS is offering EQIP funding for three special initiatives, including:
On-Farm Energy Initiative (helps producers conserve energy on their operations);
Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative (helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season into the cold months, improving plant and soil quality and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport.
Organic Initiative (helps producers to install conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification).
"These special initiatives offer producers a variety of options to conserve natural resources while sustaining production on their lands," says new California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. "We're urging producers to contact their local service center as soon as possible to be considered for this year's funding. Eligible producers with a conservation plan for their operation receive priority for financial assistance.
NRCS staff is available to help producers create conservation plans on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications can be submitted throughout the year. Applications received by Feb. 15 will be evaluated for funding priority for the pending 2013 funding. Applications received after Feb. 15 may be considered for future funding.
For additional information, eligible producers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Service center locations and more information on the programs can be found at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.