RENO — The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial and technical assistance to help agricultural producers address natural resource concerns and improve existing conservation activities on their farms and ranches. Applications for the classic Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and Inflation Reduction Act funded versions of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program are due April 7.
EQIP is a voluntary program providing funding to agricultural producers and non-industrial forest managers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conservation of ground and surface water, increased soil health and reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved or created wildlife habitat, and mitigation against drought and increasing weather volatility.
The Conservation Stewardship Program is for working lands including cropland, pastureland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a tribe. Participating farmers will further address priority resource concerns related to soil quality, water quality, air quality, and plant health. On-farm benefits include increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements, and better resilience to weather variables.
“The Inflation Reduction Act provided an additional $1.9 million in funding that allows us to extend assistance for farmers and ranchers under EQIP and CSP beyond our normal budget,” said acting NRCS Nevada State Conservationist Jay Gibbs.
The IRA funds will provide direct climate mitigation benefits and expand access to financial and technical assistance for producers to advance conservation on their farm, ranch or forest land through practices like cover cropping, conservation tillage, wetland restoration, prescribed grazing, nutrient management, tree planting and more, he added.
Historically underserved (HU) participants, including limited resource farmers and ranchers, beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and veteran farmers and ranchers are eligible for advance payments to help offset costs related to purchasing materials or contracting services through EQIP. HU participants may elect to receive an advance of not less than 50 percent of the EQIP conservation practice payment amount. Participants who receive advance payment must expend the funds within 90 days of receiving the advance.
Water management entities who assist private agricultural producers with managing water distribution or conservation systems can also apply for EQIP. These entities are defined as a State, irrigation district, ground water management district, acequia, land grant-merced, or similar entity that has jurisdiction or responsibilities related to water delivery or management to eligible lands.To learn more about EQIP and CSP, or for general information about NRCS programs, contact your local NRCS office. Program information and an office locator can be found at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/conservation-basics/conservation-by-state/nevada