“Farmers and forest landowners will want to plan ahead and sign up early for USDA conservation funding,” said Peggy Winter, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist in Lincoln and Langlade Counties, Wisconsin. NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. Applications for the following sign-ups must be received by May 18, 2018, to be considered for the current funding opportunity. All eligible applications received by May 18, 2018, will be evaluated, prioritized and ranked for funding in 2018. Farmers may contact their local USDA Service Center to get started on producer eligibility and planning. Winter reminds farmers who are interested in practices that may require permits, such as manure storage or streambank restoration, to begin planning and seeking permits as soon as possible. Applicants with shovel-ready projects (designs completed and permit applications submitted) will receive higher priority.
Landowners interested in applying for EQIP funding should contact the local NRCS office at the 715-623-6716 extension 100, email Peggy.Winter@wi.usda.gov or check the websites at www.farmers.gov or www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov.
EQIP Soil Health Initiative Signup for 2018 Funding
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Soil Initiative includes practices such as cover crops, nutrient, pest and residue management. There is at least $3 million available in funding for improving soil health in Wisconsin. Soil is a living and life giving natural resource. By farming using soil health principles and conservation practices mentioned above, more and more farmers are actually increasing their soil’s organic matter and improving microbial activity. Lincoln and Langlade County applications are among a list of other counties which will receive extra ranking points. There are also extra ranking points for participants who have never tried cover crops.
EQIP Pollinator Habitat Signup for 2018 Funding
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – This effort provides technical and financial assistance to farmers in the Midwest to improve the health of honey bees. Honey bee numbers have been declining over the past 50 years. Since 2006, ~30% of honey bee hives in the U.S. have been lost each winter to diseases, parasites, poor nutrition, pesticide exposure and other issues. Honey bees pollinate more than 130 fruits and vegetables, which is estimated to be $15 billion worth of pollinated U.S. crops. To address this concern, NRCS has dedicated significant monies in Wisconsin, through EQIP for practices to increase and improve honey bee food sources. These practices assist by improving preferred wild and cultivated foraging plants, by implementing managed intensive grazing systems that maximize high-quality honey bee forage, and developing and implementing integrated pest management.
GLRI Wildlife Habitat and Invasive Species Signup for 2018 Funding
A sign-up is underway in Wisconsin for financial assistance available through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Financial assistance for GLRI is provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The GLRI helps NRCS accelerate conservation efforts on private lands located in targeted watersheds throughout the region. Through GLRI, in Wisconsin, NRCS works with farmers and landowners to combat invasive species, protect watersheds and shorelines from non-point source pollution, improve water quality, and restore wetlands and other wildlife habitat areas. Private landowners and tribes within these watersheds are encouraged to utilize this assistance to implement conservation activities that will benefit the Great Lakes ecosystem.
- Wildlife Habitat Signup* – Funding is available for eligible projects that protect and restore wildlife habitat with a priority on stream passage and spawning habitat for Green Bay northern pike. Some practices included are brush management, tree & shrub establishment, shearing of aspen and alder stands, etc.
- Invasive Species Signup* – Funding is available for eligible projects that reduce invasive species and for the restoration, protection and enhancement of habitat in upland and riparian areas. Some practices include forest stand improvement, herbaceous weed control, brush management, etc.
*Practice lists are NOT all inclusive, please contact your local USDA service center for additional details and a full list of conservation practices available.