EQUIP Program seeks Mower County applicants

Mower County farmers and landowners seeking to address issues on their land can apply for federal funding to help put practices in place that address water quality, soil erosion and other concerns.

Applications are being taken for the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP); Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) coordinated by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

NRCS accepts applications for these programs year-round, but there is a March 13 deadline for the Minnesota application-batching period by which a producer or landowner must submit a signed application to be considered for fiscal year 2020 funding.

All applications received by March 13 will be considered for prioritization and ranking based on the availability of funds.

These federal programs provide financial and technical assistance to help eligible producers voluntarily implement conservation practices to improve natural resources and agricultural productivity. Various practices are eligible to address resource concerns, such as water quality; health of grazing land; soil erosion and soil health; wildlife habitat; livestock production; and more.

Through RCPP, NRCS works with partners to implement projects that demonstrate innovative solutions to conservation challenges while providing measurable improvements to resource concerns targeted in the partnership.

ACEP conserves agricultural lands and wetlands along with their related benefits. Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps Indian tribes, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land.

Troy Daniell, the Minnesota State Conservationist for NRCS stated that by getting EQIP applications submitted early, NRCS staff will have time to visit individual farms and assist in planning conservation practices.

Mower County producers and landowners should contact Brian DeVetter, district conservationist for USDA-NRCS in Mower County, at 507-433-8429 or stop by the NRCS office in Austin to get started on eligibility and planning. NRCS is in the USDA Service Center with Mower Soil & Water Conservation District and USDA-Farms Service Agency at 1408 21st Ave. N.W.

For more information, visit www.mn.nrcs.usda.gov.