Illinois agricultural producers who want to improve natural resources and address concerns are encouraged to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) through the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The first deadline for funding consideration is November 20th.
Eric Gerth, Acting Illinois NRCS State Conservationist, announced that November 20, 2015 and January 15, 2016 will be the two EQIP application deadlines in Illinois. “Producers can sign-up for EQIP at any time throughout the year, but to compete for the upcoming funding periods; I encourage producers with resource concerns to submit an application by one of the application deadlines.” Gerth explains.
Many applicants have interest in funding pools that address soil erosion and water quality issues on cropland. However, there are also funding pools for grazing land operations, confined livestock operations, organic producers, and wildlife habitat improvement, just to name a few.
In addition to conservation practices, EQIP provides funding for the development of plans, such as Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMP), Grazing Plans, Drainage Water Management Plans, and more.
Producers interested in EQIP should submit a signed application (NRCS-CPA-1200 form) to the local NRCS field office. Applications submitted by November 20, 2015 and January 15, 2016 will be evaluated by NRCS staff for the funding period submitted. The staff will work with producers to determine eligibility for the program and complete worksheets and rankings in order for the applicant to compete for funding.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available for agricultural producers. Through EQIP, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve water and air quality, and create wildlife habitat. For information on EQIP, contact the local NRCS field office or visit www.il.nrcs.usda.gov.