The next deadline to apply is November 3, 2023
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced unprecedented funding to support on-farm conservation practices such as agroforestry, compost and mulch applications, planting hedgerows, cover cropping, prescribed grazing, and more.
There are new eligible practices and more money than ever available in 2024 for two NRCS grant programs, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). This is a good time to take advantage of these programs!
Both EQIP and CSP can support improving water and air quality, conserving water, increasing soil health, reducing soil erosion and sedimentation, creating wildlife habitat, mitigating the impacts of drought, and increasing weather volatility. Through these programs, grants are available to implement any number of dozens of practices (see below for some examples, and here for the complete list). EQIP funds new practices, and CSP can be used to maintain, improve, and implement existing conservation plans.
Apply now and help spread the word! The greater the demand from farmers for these programs, the more likely it is that we will successfully advocate for increasing these program budgets in the next Farm Bill.
NRCS accepts applications any time of the year, but to be considered in the large pool of funding available early in 2024, apply by November 3, 2023, by contacting your local NRCS office.
Special provisions are also available for historically underserved producers including advanced payments to help offset costs related to purchasing materials or contracting services and higher payment rates through EQIP.
Additional Conservation Programs
There are two other programs getting boosts in available funding through the Inflation Reduction Act that may be of interest.
The Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP) protects farmlands under threat of conversion to non-agricultural uses.
The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) expands the reach of conservation efforts and climate-smart agriculture through public-private partnerships.
The next two application dates for these programs are November 29, 2023, and February 9, 2024.
Examples of Eligible Conservation Practices
- Compost and mulch application
- Compost bedded pack barns (for manure management)
- Cover cropping, crop rotation and intercropping
- Cropland conversion to pasture or hay
- Field border enhancements
- Forest stand improvement
- Pasture and range planting to increase cover, forage, and wildlife habitat
- Prescribed grazing
- Reduced tillage
- Silvopasture, windbreaks, and hedgerow plantings