Northeast farmers who would like technical and financial assistance in managing their natural resources are encouraged to apply now for the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service has accelerated its sign-up period while work on the next federal Farm Bill continues.
Applications must be received by Tuesday, November 13, 2007. Call or visit your local USDA Service Center as soon as possible to begin the conservation planning process and complete necessary paperwork.
USDA service center locations are listed on-line at offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
EQIP helps farmers improve production while protecting environmental quality by addressing such concerns as soil quality, grazing land conservation, irrigation efficiency and comprehensive nutrient management. Financial and technical assistance from NRCS helps promote environmental quality on farmland, address water quality and quantity challenges, and protect valuable fish and wildlife habitat.
"USDA is committed to providing conservation tools and resources to help farmers ensure that their land remains healthy and productive," says Massachusetts State Conservationist Christine Clarke. During fiscal year 2006, NRCS funded 113 EQIP contracts with Massachusetts farmers alone. The program put in place $3.86 million in conservation practices on 7,894 acres of land.