USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will remove the dollar cap on six key Environmental Quality Incentives Program conservation practices in fiscal year 2019. These practices include: no-till or strip till, cover crop, reduced till, nutrient management, integrated pest management and high tunnel systems.
Kurt Simon, state conservationist for NRCS in Iowa, announced the decision Oct. 16, explaining that it is based on the recommendation of the Iowa State Technical Committee. The committee advises NRCS on rules and regulations to help carry out soil and water conservation programs in Iowa.
Goal is expanded use of practices
The EQIP subcommittee recommended the change to help improve contracting efficiencies and encourage expanded conservation adoption on individual farms. “We are especially interested in expanding the use of cover crops, a key soil health and water quality conservation practice,” says Sarah Carlson, with Practical Farmers of Iowa.
The change does not impact payment rates, but it does increase the total payment amount allowed per practice, says Simon. “The removal of the cap will translate into more acres of these practices in Iowa.”
While the EQIP dollar cap is removed for these five practices, the overall financial cap allowed over the life of the farm bill remains. Under the 2014 Farm Bill, EQIP financial assistance is capped at $450,000 per individual. EQIP applications are accepted on a continual basis. Visit your local NRCS field office to learn more.
Plan ahead for application deadline
The first fiscal year 2019 EQIP sign-up deadline for Iowa farmers was Oct. 19; a second application deadline is March 15, 2019. NRCS offices accept program applications on a continuous basis and rank applications as funding allows.
The state technical committee provides advice to Iowa NRCS on a wide variety of policy issues. While the committee has no implementation or enforcement authority, NRCS strongly considers the group’s recommendations. Individuals and groups may ask to join the committee through a written request to the NRCS state conservationist explaining their interest, credentials and why they would be a relevant member of the committee. For more information about the Iowa State Technical Committee, including a member list, roles and responsibilities, meeting minutes and schedule, go to ia.nrcs.usda.gov.
Source: Iowa NRCS