WARWICK, R.I. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing fiscal year 2022 assistance opportunities for agricultural producers and private landowners for federal conservation programs. While NRCS accepts applications for these programs year-round, producers and landowners should apply by the following state-specific ranking dates to be considered for this year’s funding.
|Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)||March 4. 2022|
|Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA)||April 8, 2022|
|Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)||June 3, 2022|
|Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) renewals 2023||March 31, 2022|
|Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)||April 8, 2022|
|Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Incentive Contracts (CIC)||April 8, 2022|
|Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Oyster Reef Restoration||March 18, 2022|
Through conservation programs, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help producers and landowners make conservation improvements on their land that benefit natural resources, build resiliency, and contribute to the nation’s broader effort to combat the impacts of climate change.
“NRCS conservation programs are good for Rhode Island’s natural resources and for your operation’s bottom line,” said Phou Vongkhamdy, NRCS State Conservationist in Rhode Island. “Whether this is your first time working with NRCS or you want to take conservation to the next level on your land, we encourage you to contact your local NRCS field office to learn more.”
Applying for assistance
Funding is provided through a competitive process. NRCS accepts applications for its conservation programs year-round. NRCS sets state-specific ranking dates to evaluate applications for funding. These dates account for producer needs, staff workload and ensure potential participants have ample opportunity to apply. Producers should apply by their state’s ranking dates to be considered for funding in the current cycle. Applications received after ranking dates will be automatically deferred to the next funding period.
- EQIP provides cost share assistance for producers to use 170-plus conservation practices to address a wide variety of resource concerns. Within EQIP, Conservation Incentive Contracts allow producers to further target priority resource concerns.
- CSP helps producers take their conservation activities to the next level through comprehensive conservation and advanced conservation activities.
- AMA provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations.
- ACEP helps producers enroll wetlands, grasslands and farmlands into easements for long-term protection.
Historically underserved producer benefits
Special provisions are also available for historically underserved producers. For EQIP, historically underserved producers are eligible for advance payments to help offset costs related to purchasing materials or contracting services up front. In addition, historically underserved producers can receive higher EQIP payment rates (up to 90 percent of average cost). NRCS sets aside EQIP, CSP and ACEP funds for historically underserved producers.
Conservation practices and climate
NRCS conservation programs play a critical role in USDA’s commitment to partnering with farmers, ranchers, forest landowners and local communities to deliver climate solutions that strengthen agricultural operations and rural America. States may prioritize a variety of voluntary conservation practices through these NRCS programs, including those that support climate-smart agriculture and forestry (CSAF).
In fiscal year 2022, EQIP and CSP will provide targeted funding for CSAF practices, and Conservation Incentive Contracts – a new EQIP program – will be available nationwide with an emphasis on CSAF practices. Building on these efforts, NRCS will also prioritize climate investments through ACEP, RCPP and Conservation Innovation Grants.
NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with conservation districts and the people of Rhode Island to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources.
For more information and to apply for NRCS programs, contact your local conservation district or NRCS at:
Eastern RI Conservation District
Serving Newport and Bristol counties
Northern RI Conservation District
Serving Providence County
Southern RI Conservation District
Serving Kent and Washington counties
–USDA NRCS Rhode Island