Agricultural producers and landowners interested in financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve water quality, and create wildlife habitat are encouraged to sign up now for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) through the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Jane Hardisty, NRCS State Conservationist, announced that January 20, 2017 will be the EQIP application deadline in Indiana. “While we are taking applications throughout the year, producers with resource concerns are encouraged to submit an application by the deadline to have the best probability of receiving funding,” Hardisty explains.
Owen County is fortunate to have special funding through EQIP for the next two years for projects in priority watersheds through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) and forested lands through the Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration Initiative.
Limestone Creek, McCormick’s Creek, Elliston Creek, and Mills Creek are the small high-priority watersheds that have been identified for MRBI funding. Targeted conservation practices are cover crops, no-till, nutrient management, riparian forest buffers, wetland restoration, grassed waterways, heavy use area protection for livestock, livestock pipeline, watering facilities, and riparian herbaceous cover. NRCS conservation professionals will provide technical assistance and planning to determine which actions will provide the best results and design practices specifically for each individual landowner.
Findings from a 2013 report by the USDA show that conservation work on cropland in the Mississippi River Basin has reduced the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus flowing to the Gulf of Mexico by 18 to 20 percent, respectively. Owen County SWCD Director Andrea Oeding explains, “By targeting small priority watersheds, we are helping farmers to deliver water quality benefits that contribute to large scale improvements for the Mississippi River basin as a whole. These practices also enhance agricultural profitability through reduced input and improved soil health.”
To learn more, contact local NRCS District Conservationist Kristi Kennedy, 765-653-5716 x3 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or your Owen County Soil and Water Conservation District office at 812-829-2605 (email@example.com). We are eager to work with you to determine eligibility for the program, schedule a site visit, and walk you through the application process.