Purchase photos

EQIP deadline approaches

8/28/2012

Special to The Hays Daily News

SALINA -- The evaluation cutoff date for U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service's Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds has been set for Nov. 16. Applicants who request a conservation plan by close of business Friday will receive additional points in the ranking process.

"Landowners and/or operators with eligible cropland, rangeland or forestland with any EQIP concerns such as soil, water, air, plants or animals can apply," said Eric B. Banks, state conservationist. "I encourage landowners to apply at their local NRCS field office by the end of August and work with staff to develop a conservation plan."

In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for conservation practices related to EQIP.

"NRCS believes it is important that landowners and/or producers have a conservation plan on their land," Banks said. "NRCS planners are available in every county. The planner will walk your land with you and listen to your goals and ideas relating to conserving your natural resources -- soil, water, air, plants and animals. From your input, the planner will develop the plan and discuss it with you, making sure it is what you envisioned.

"The conservation plan is provided free of charge," he added, "and you will be ready to sign up for farm bill programs as they are announced."

Taking the time to invest in the development of a conservation plan allows producers to combine their farming skills with science-based knowledge and the skill of the conservation planner. With alternatives provided by the NRCS planner, producers can select the best possible combination of conservation practices to meet natural resource needs and individual management production goals. Additional benefits of a conservation plan include helping producers meet environmental regulations, qualify for various USDA conservation programs, and establish a reasonable schedule for applying needed conservation practices that fits a producer's timeline and available resources.