The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced Friday, November 18, 2016, as the deadline to submit applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in Ohio.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that offers financial and technical assistance to applicants selected for funding who would like to apply conservation practices that benefit both the environment and their agricultural operation. Producers select to submit an application under one of several different funding categories, including the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) Initiative, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, organic farming, pollinator habitat development, the Cleveland High Tunnel Initiative, and many others listed on the Ohio NRCS website under "EQIP Application Deadlines." The ranking questions for each category, payment rates for conservation practices, and eligibility criteria are also available on-line.
Agriculture producers, including urban farmers, and non-industrial private forest land owners now have two options for submitting a signed EQIP application, either in person at their local NRCS office or electronically through the NRCS Conservation Client Gateway www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/cgate Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the November 18 deadline will be evaluated for funding this fiscal year.
Applications for EQIP submitted by entities, such as agricultural producers applying as a corporation, must have a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number and an active SAM (System for Award Management) registration status when applying, a process that may take several weeks. Applications cannot be processed without this information. Information on obtaining a DUNS number and registering with SAM is posted at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill.
Agricultural producers and forest owners may apply for EQIP at any time. Applications submitted after the November 18 deadline will be considered with all other applications submitted by the next ranking deadline announced by NRCS.
For more information about EQIP or other technical or financial assistance programs offered by NRCS, please contact Leisha Billenstein, District Conservationist, 937-593-2946.