ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications from agricultural producers and forest landowners from Maryland for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which offers producers financial and technical assistance to address resource concerns on their land.
While USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) accepts EQIP applications year-round, Maryland producers and landowners should apply by April 18, 2022, to be considered for funding in the current cycle. Applications received after the ranking date will automatically be considered during the next funding cycle. Funding is provided through a competitive process.
EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to producers for conservation practices to help them make improvements, including enhancing water and air quality, conserving ground and surface water, reducing soil erosion and sedimentation, or enhancing wildlife habitat.
EQIP is the primary program available to Maryland farmers and landowners for basic farm and forestland conservation work, with payments for over 110 conservation practices such as heavy use area protection, pasture management, grassed waterways, pest management, and forest stand improvement. Last year, Maryland producers were offered more than $10 million in funds for EQIP practices.
Historically underserved producers are eligible for advance payments for all EQIP practices. This option provides historically underserved producers with funding up-front, for at least 50% of the payment rate for each practice. Historically underserved producers include producers who are beginning, socially disadvantaged, veteran, or limited resource.
To apply for EQIP, contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center. Find your local Service Center at www.farmers.gov/service-locator. For more information about conservation planning and programs in Maryland visit www.md.nrcs.usda.gov.
–Jessica Duerstine, USDA, NRCS