The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced Friday, January 15, 2021, as the deadline to submit applications for Ohio’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Additionally, NRCS is offering an opportunity for agricultural producers in three watersheds in the East Fork Little Miami River Basin to apply for assistance installing conservation practices that protect water quality through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). The deadline for NWQI applications is also January 15, 2021.
Financial assistance through EQIP is now available in a variety of agricultural categories such as cropland, pasture operations, and organic. Several special projects are also available which address water quality, forestry management, improving pollinator populations and wildlife habitat, pasture improvements and many more.
The three East Fork watersheds for which NWQI funding is available include:
(See map for eligible NWQI area)
Eligible conservation practices through NWQI include those that promote soil health, reduce erosion, and lessen nutrient runoff, such as cover crops, reduced tillage, and nutrient management; waste management systems that treat agricultural waste and livestock manure; and wetland restoration that increases wildlife habitat, mitigates flooding, and improves water quality. Together, Ohio NRCS and the Clermont, Brown, Clinton and Highland Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) will utilize funds to implement core water quality practices in these watersheds.
Applicants for the EQIP and NWQI programs should be farmers, or farm or forest landowners and meet eligibility criteria. To participate in USDA conservation programs, contact your local NRCS conservationist as soon as possible.
Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the January 15, 2021 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2021 funding. Visit Ohio NRCS website under “EQIP Funding Categories” for more details. To learn more about EQIP or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact your local USDA Service Center.