NEVADA, IA – For farmers in Iowa wishing to enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the deadline for submitting the initial documents has been set for October 1.
“These programs are great opportunities for farmers looking to integrate conservation into their operations,” said Kate Hansen, policy associate for the Center for Rural Affairs.
Administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the United States Department of Agriculture, the CSP and EQIP provide financial and technical assistance to producers to address natural resource concerns with conservation practices and maintain simultaneously agricultural production on their land.
The CSP is designed to enhance existing conservation efforts at the farm level. To be eligible, producers must demonstrate their current conservation efforts, address resource concerns for their region, and be prepared to implement additional practices. Available practices include cover crops, rotational grazing, and conservation crop rotation.
The EQIP is designed to help producers implement conservation focused on a particular resource concern, such as erosion or water quality, with a single practice or project. Many of the practices available in EQIP are also available in CSP, although the program is unique in offering a number of structural practices to choose from.
“Conservation is for everyone, whether you are relatively new to farming or have been in the business for years, and these programs are a smart way to invest in sound environmental practices with financial backing.” , said Hansen.
In 2020, more than 1,200 contracts advanced conservation in Iowa, with 980 EQIP contracts and 228 CSP contracts statewide.
When applying for either program, farmers develop a plan with their local NRCS staff. Farmers interested in applying should call their local NRCS office to make an appointment. A list of local offices is available at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov.