Farmers and forest land owners interested in EQIP funding must apply by October 20, 2017, for funding in 2018. Applications are now being taken at all USDA Service Centers in Wisconsin.
EQIP is the primary program available to farmers for farm and woodland conservation work, offering payments for over 110 basic conservation practices. All eligible applications received by October 20, 2017, will be evaluated, prioritized and ranked for funding in 2018.
Funding is available for several Special Initiatives focusing on conservation efforts for On-Farm Energy, Organic, Specialty Crops and Seasonal High Tunnel conservation practices, as well as a number of landscape based initiatives. All offer technical and financial assistance through EQIP.
On-Farm Energy: NRCS and producers develop Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) or farm energy audits that assess energy consumption on an operation. Audit data is used to develop energy conservation recommendations.
Organic: NRCS helps certified organic growers and producers, working to achieve organic certification, install conservation practices to address resource concerns on organic operations.
Specialty Crops: NRCS offers a fund pool for fruit crop producers; in Wisconsin, this is applicable to cranberry and orchard growers.
Seasonal High Tunnel (Hoop House): NRCS helps producers plan and implement high tunnels – steel-framed, polyethylene-covered structures that extend growing seasons in an environmentally safe manner. High tunnel benefits include better plant and soil quality, fewer nutrients and pesticides in the environment, and better air quality due to fewer vehicles being needed to transport crops.
Honey Bee: The upper Midwest is the resting ground for over 65 percent of commercially managed honey bees in the country. The NRCS is helping farmers and landowners implement conservation practices that will provide safe and diverse food sources for honey bees. Pasture management, wildlife habitat, and appropriate cover crops are used as tools to improve the health of our honey bees, which support more than $15 billion worth of agricultural production.
Landowners interested in applying for EQIP funding in Outagamie County should contact Lynn Szulczewski at (920) 733-1575 ext. 3 or stop by the NRCS office at 3369 W. Brewster St, Appleton, WI. For more information visit the NRCS website.