About $18 million in financial assistance is available to Iowa agricultural producers for applying soil and water conservation and wildlife habitat management practices on their farms through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program.
To be considered for the first round of funding selections, farmers must apply at local USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service offices by Jan. 21, 2011. EQIP and WHIP are offered through a continuous signup, but NRCS periodically makes funding selections as program dollars allow. Dave Brommel, EQIP and WHIP program coordinator at the Iowa NRCS state office in Des Moines provides the following information and explanation.
What practices are eligible for cost share in EQIP and WHIP?
EQIP and WHIP are voluntary programs, reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, that provide eligible participants financial and technical assistance to help put conservation practices on the land. EQIP promotes agricultural production and environmental quality, while WHIP helps promote, create and enhance wildlife habitat. Both programs are administered by USDA-NRCS.
Conservation plans must be developed for the entire area that will be included in an EQIP contract. Statewide EQIP practices include, but are not limited to: grassed waterways, manure management facilities, terracing, pest management, ag drainage wellhead protection and pasture management. Livestock producers may qualify for EQIP assistance to treat livestock waste resource concerns on existing facilities. Structures associated with new livestock facilities are not eligible. Lands eligible for WHIP include private agricultural land, non-industrial private forestland and Indian land.
Higher EQIP payment for farmers who apply nitrogen in spring
This year producers with EQIP contracts including nutrient management who select to fall apply nitrogen will receive a maximum $2 per acre, a significant reduction from 2010 EQIP nutrient management financial assistance rates. Higher payment rates are available for producers who select to spring apply nitrogen and to implement other higher management intensity options.
Iowa's WHIP priorities places emphasis on wildlife and fisheries habitat of national and state significance by providing assistance in the following areas: forestland (15%), grassland habitat (30%), riverine habitat (20%) and wildlife management (35%).
Higher financial assistance rates for EQIP and WHIP are available for tribal landowners and beginning, socially disadvantaged and limited resource farmers.
For more information about EQIP, WHIP, or other conservation programs, or to apply, visit the NRCS office at your local USDA Service Center. NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment.