Signup deadline for NRCS EQIP funding is Jan. 21

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kansas has received its FY-2005 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding allocation of nearly $22 million, and has announced the cutoff date of Jan. 21 for applications to be considered for FY-2005 funding.

“Producers interested in applying for EQIP will be filling out a self-assessment tool this year,” said Harold L. Klaege, state conservationist for the NRCS. “So, if they plan to apply, they should start the process very soon if they haven’t done so already.

“The self-assessment tool is an educational tool,” he said, “providing landowners with a clear indication of what natural resource concerns they have, what they can accomplish, and what they need to do to qualify for the program.”

The self-assessment tool booklet asks questions about grazed range

asture, livestock waste, cropland, streambank, and forestland. Producers will answer questions that apply to their operation.

“We envision that the self-assessment will cut down on the time it takes NRCS to process applications for EQIP and that it will also reduce the federal dollars required to administer the program and make more dollars available for producers,” Klaege said.

The Kansas EQIP funding allocation for FY-2005 is nearly $22 million. In FY-2004, Kansas received more than $22 million and 1,823 contracts were funded.

In Marion County, all 23 applications that were received were funded, totaling nearly $123,000.

In Kansas, EQIP funds will help farmers and ranchers install conservation practices that improve and protect Kansas’s priority natural resource concerns.

EQIP-one of the largest programs in the 2002 Farm Bill-is a voluntary conservation program that promotes environmental quality and assists producers to meet local, state, and federal regulations.

The FY-2005 Kansas EQIP eligible priority natural resource concerns are as follows:

n air quality-objectionable odors;

n forestland health-productivity, health, vigor;

n Grazing lands health-productivity, health, vigor and noxious or invasive weeds;

n Sedimentation of federal reservoirs; soil erosion, streambank; water quality-excessive suspended sediment and turbidity in surface water;

n soil quality-organic matter depletion;

n water quality-concentrated, non-confined animal waste;

n water quality-confined animal waste;

n water quality-nutrients, pesticides, suspended sediment;

n water quantity-inefficient water use on irrigated land; aquifer overdraft.

Agricultural producers interested in participating in EQIP can apply at any time at their local NRCS office or USDA Service Center.

NRCS will evaluate each application and give higher priority to those applications that use cost-effective conservation practices; treat multiple resource concerns; address national, state, or local priorities; and provide the most environmental benefits.

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