The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced deadlines for several program applications in early 2022.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – Agricultural and Forestland
EQIP is one opportunity for assistance through NRCS for agricultural and forestland producers to address natural resource concerns. With EQIP, producers have succewssfully addressed natural resource issues on their farms. Some EQIP activities include installing structures to address gully erosion, improving pastureland diversity by interseeding, and improving soil health by increasing orgranic matter with cover crops. In addition to conservation practices, EQIP funds the development of conservation plans. New plan options are available this year as well as the existing options of creating a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) and Forest Management Plan (FMP).
To participate in EQIP, producers can apply throughout the year; however, Illinois NRCS has established an application deadline of January 7, 2022.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – Landscape Initiatives
NRCS will offer funding for the following Landscape Initiatives throughout the state:
- Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI)
- National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)
Producers who have agricultural land in an Initiative project area can apply for assistance through EQIP to implement a range of conservation practices that will improve water quality and decrease soil erosion.
More information can be found here regarding eligibility. To participate in EQIP, producers can apply throughout the year; however, Illinois NRCS has established an application deadline of January 7, 2022.
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
The submission deadline for CSP applications to be considered for funding in FY 2022 is January 7, 2022. USDA’s NRCS plans to invest up to $8.64 million for new CSP contracts in FY 2022 in Illinois. CSP is a financial assistance conservation program which helps agricultural forestland producers take the conservation activities on their farm to the next level. CSP provides many benefits, including increased crop yields, decreased input costs, wildlife habitat improvements, and increased resilience to weather extremes.
Producers interested in the above EQIP programs should submit a signed application (NRCS-CPA-1200 form) to the local NRCS field office or through the Farmers.gov website using their account. A blank NRCS-CPA-1200 application form may be obtained from the local office or on the Illinois NRCS website. Producers wishing to use Farmers.gov, can sign in or create an account by clicking on “Sign up” in the upper right of the website.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will also be opening the “Fall Covers for Spring Savings
” program again on Dec 15th
with an increase to 100,000 acres for 2022 crop insurance.