COLUMBIA, S.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the 2022 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) signup deadline has been extended to Nov. 5 for farmers, ranchers and private landowners to apply for financial and technical assistance.
All participants who apply for fiscal year 2022 EQIP funding must have all eligibility paperwork completed and their application must be “eligible” no later than Dec. 3, 2021.
NRCS accepts EQIP applications year round, but makes funding selections at specific times during the fiscal year. NRCS is encouraging producers and private landowners to submit their applications as soon as possible because funding is limited. NRCS provided nearly $33 million in EQIP funding to eligible South Carolina farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and private landowners in fiscal year 2021.
“NRCS works hard to help eligible farmers, ranchers and private landowners plan and carry out conservation practices that can benefit all South Carolina’s residents by providing clean air and water, healthy and productive forests, and healthy soils,” said Ann English, State Conservationist for NRCS in South Carolina. “EQIP provides crucial funding to help producers carry out these practices on their agricultural land.”
EQIP, a voluntary conservation program, promotes agricultural production and environmental quality. This program is available to eligible producers and landowners and offers financial and technical assistance to install or implement structural and management practices on private land that deliver environmental benefits, such as improved water quality and reduced soil erosion. Eligible land includes cropland, pastureland and non-industrial private forestland.
In South Carolina, EQIP will pay 75 percent of the costs to implement eligible conservation practices for producers. In addition, the 2018 Farm Bill strengthened benefits for historically underserved farmers, beginning and limited resource farmers, American Indian Tribes and veterans. The payment rate is up to 90 percent for financial assistance through EQIP and provides advance payment of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices. Examples of conservation practices include nutrient management, manure management facilities, cover crops, heavy use areas, and wildlife habitat management.
To learn more about financial and technical assistance available to help South Carolina farmers and other landowners improve and protect their land, visit NRCS in South Carolina’s website at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/sc/home/ or visit your local NRCS office. USDA service center locations are listed at http://offices.usda.gov.
–Michael Mascari, USDA