Ohio farmers interested in addressing natural resource concerns on their farm with assistance from the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) must apply now for 2008 funding. EQIP provides farmers with incentive payments, as well as technical assistance for conservation activities that help limit soil erosion, improve water and air quality, and protect wildlife habitat.
"We are on a fast track for getting applications processed this year," said Terry Cosby, a NRCS state conservationist. "While the next farm bill is currently making its way through the legislative process, we don't know when it will be passed or what the final legislation will entail. We have authorization to offer EQIP right now and want to provide Ohio farmers with the assistance to meet their conservation needs."
The timeline for application, ranking, and funding begins immediately. Now through Nov. 2, applications will be accepted from interested producers for this ranking period. From November 2007 through the end of December 2007 the applications will be ranked. At the end of December, producers will be notified if their contract received funding.
"This year we are using the same ranking criteria we used last year to rank applications," said Mike Laughrey, EQIP program manager for NRCS in Ohio. "In addition to the general EQIP program we will provide three special EQIP projects; the Appalachia EQIP project (for southern Ohio counties), the Upper Big Walnut EQIP project (Delaware, Morrow and Knox counties) and the Forestry EQIP project (offered statewide)."