NRCS taking sign-ups for EQIP | RecordCourier.com
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NRCS taking sign-ups for EQIP

by Linda Hiller

Agricultural producers in the Carson Valley and outlying areas are eligible for money from a conservation program with the United States Department of Agriculture.

Sign-ups are now underway for the 1998 cost-share Environmental Quality Incentives Program, according to Jane Schmidt of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The cost-sharing may pay up to 75 percent of the expenses of certain conservation practices such as grassed waterways, filter strips, manure management facilities, capping abandoned wells, wildlife habitat enhancement and other practices important to improving and maintaining the health of natural resources in the area.

EQIP is a new, voluntary USDA conservation program for farmers and ranchers who face serious threats to soil, water and related resources.

The program provides technical, financial and educational assistance primarily in designated priority areas. Nationally, half of the funding for EQIP is targeted to livestock-related natural resource concerns and the remainder to other significant conservation priorities.

“This is money for conservation, not flood repair,” Schmidt said. “Not everyone who applies will get the funds which means they compete against each other for it.”

Monies granted to individual agricultural producers through EQIP are to be used primarily for long-term conservation projects, an incentive that encourages farmers and ranchers to improve the environmental health of the nation’s agricultural land.

“EQIP contracts are competitive, with landowners vying to provide the best conservation per tax dollar invested,” said Nick Pearson, acting state conservationist for the NRCS in Nevada. “All applications received will be ranked after Feb. 20.”

The program allows eligible producers to receive up to $10,000 per year, with a maximum of $50,000 per contract. Last year, 64 contracts were approved for a state total of $923,000, and this year, more funds are available – up to $1.2 million – according to Wendell Newmann, state executive director for the FSA in Nevada.

Projects implemented in each key conservation area will address major resource concerns such as water quality and quantity, soil erosion and rangeland management.

The sign-up period for this year’s allotment runs until Feb. 20. Applications are being accepted by the NRCS and Farm Service Agency county offices and Nevada conservation district offices.

Schmidt said that so far her Gardnerville office has received fewer than expected applications from Douglas County, although she added that the application period only began Jan. 12. Several applications from Lyon County have been submitted.

Many areas in Northern Nevada are considered high priority for the EQIP monies, Schmidt said, because of a variety of factors including watershed regions and areas of special environmental sensitivity.

The Douglas County offices of both the NRCS and the FSA are located at 1528 Highway 395 in Gardnerville. Information can be viewed on the Web site at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov.

Call Schmidt or Harvey Neill 782-3661 for more information.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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