Application Cutoff for Natural Resource Conservation Funds Approaching
Farmers and ranchers interested in preventing erosion, improving soil health, conserving water and wildlife, or making other natural resource conservation improvements to their property are encouraged to apply now for funding available from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Those interested in receiving funding this year should sign up before Saturday, Nov. 17, 2023.
NRCS accepts conservation program applications on a continuous basis but sets application cutoff dates as funding allows. According to NRCS Nebraska State Conservationist Rob Lawson, there are several options still available to producers for this year.
“NRCS has a whole suite of conservation programs available to Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers looking for assistance in improving and protecting the natural resources on their ag land. These programs provide funding on cropland and rangeland, as well as for establishing or enhancing wildlife habitat and wetlands. NRCS staff can help landowners and operators identify their options that best suit their operation’s needs,” Lawson said.
Nebraska's two most popular conservation programs are the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). These programs provide financial incentives to landowners to install conservation practices that protect natural resources, resulting in cleaner air and water, healthy soil, and more wildlife habitat.
In fiscal year 2023, EQIP obligated $31.6 million to 1,047 contracts, covering 415,000 acres across the state. CSP obligated $31 million to 313 contracts, covering 767,366 acres. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act Nebraska received over 300 EQIP-IRA applications that were ranked and considered for FY23 funding. For applications to be considered eligible for IRA funding, applications need to include one or more core practices listed on the FY23 Climate-Smart Ag and Forestry (CSAF) Mitigation Activities List.
“Participation in our conservation programs is completely voluntary. We offer assistance that can help make farming and ranching operations more sustainable while conserving the natural resources like soil and water on which all Nebraskans depend,” Lawson said.
Individuals interested in applying for these conservation programs may do so at any time, but applications need to be submitted by Nov. 17 to be considered for this year’s funding.