The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits. These benefits include improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water (irrigation systems), reduced soil erosion and sedimentation (cover crops), or improved or created wildlife habitat.
NRCS is encouraging Delaware farmers to visit their local USDA Service Center to learn ways in which technical and financial assistance available through (EQIP) can benefit their farming operation.
Eligible program participants receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices or activities such as conservation planning. A comprehensive conservation plan can give landowners step-by-step recommendations they can use to improve soil health, pest management and yields while reducing input costs. Payments are made to participants after conservation practices and activities identified in an EQIP plan of operations are implemented. Contracts can last up to ten years in duration.
The new 2018 Farm Bill made several changes to EQIP, including the following: EQIP assistance will be available for new and anticipated resource concerns. Organic and transitioning to organic producers no longer have an annual payment limitation under EQIP and are able to receive $140,000 over the course of the Farm Bill. Soil testing was also added as an eligible practice under EQIP. Historically Underserved producers, including veteran farmers, who are beginning farmers and ranchers and limited resource producers, will receive our continued support and priority assistance.
If you would like to learn more about EQIP or how it can benefit your operation, please visit your local USDA Service Center. In Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext. 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3. Or, visit www.de.nrcs.usda.gov and click on the Programs tab, then EQIP.