USDA seeks public input on conservation standards

WASHINGTON – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today it is seeking public input on its existing national conservation practice standards as part of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill. NRCS offers 150-plus conservation practices to America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to help them meet their business and natural resource needs on their working lands.

 “With the help of NRCS, agricultural producers across the country are taking voluntary steps to improve their operations while benefiting natural resources,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “As part of our process of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, we are asking agricultural producers, conservation partners and others to provide feedback on our practice standards in an effort to refine and enhance them.”

 NRCS is requesting public comments on how to improve conservation practice standards that support programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, which help producers cover part of the costs for implementing these practices. The comment period ends April 25, 2019. More information can be found in the Federal Register.

 These standards provide guidelines for planning, designing, installing, operating and maintaining conservation practices.

2018 Farm Bill

As part of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, NRCS is reviewing conservation practices by:

  • Evaluating opportunities to increase flexibility while ensuring natural resource benefits.

  • Seeking avenues for the optimal balance between meeting site-specific conservation needs and minimizing risks of design failure and associated construction and installation costs.

  • Ensuring, to the maximum extent practicable, the completeness and relevance of the standards to local agricultural, forestry and natural resource needs, including specialty crops, native and managed pollinators, bioenergy crop production, forestry and others.

 Providing Comments

 Comments may be submitted using any of the following methods:

  •  Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov . Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

  • Mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attention: National Environmental Engineer, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6130-S, Washington, DC 20250.

 NRCS will use comments as part of updating standards. For more information on how NRCS is implementing the Farm Bill, visit farmers.gov/farmbill.

NRCS announces 2019 EQIP funding deadline

TEMPLE, Texas – Feb. 4, 2019 — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas has announced the first funding application deadline of March 15, 2019 for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  A second funding application deadline is scheduled for May 10, 2019.

 Applications are taken year around for NRCS programs, but deadlines are announced to rank and fund eligible conservation projects.  Producers interested in signing up for EQIP should submit applications to their local USDA service center or if already a USDA client, on-line via Conservation Client Gateway (CCG). 

 EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers. Technical assistance is provided without a fee from NRCS specialists to help landowners and land managers plan and implement conservation practices to help them meet their land management goals, address natural resource concerns and improve soil, water, plant, animal, air, and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.

 For additional information visit the NRCS Texas website. Applications for EQIP are accepted on a continuous basis. Producers interested in EQIP can contact their local USDA service center or visit www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.

 

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