NRCS Announces Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Sign-up in Illinois.

NRCS Announces Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Sign-up in Illinois. 
Agricultural Producers located in Illinois can participate

Springfield, IL, June 8, 2015— In January, the U. S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded funding for a special project to the Illinois Department of Agriculture in order to promote three key conservation practices in Illinois: cover crops, nutrient management, and no-till/strip-till practices.  This special project, titled Conservation Cropping Systems for Improving Soil Health, will be funded through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and will make use of the already existing Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to encourage these conservation practices. The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be partnering with several non-governmental organizations, including Illinois Stewardship Alliance, to promote these conservation practices with the goal of reducing erosion and improving water quality on agricultural land.

“The opportunity to learn as a group and develop a working knowledge of these three key conservation practices that are going to be so critical to soil health in extreme weather conditions and in regulations by Illinois’ Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy is priceless” says Woody Woodruff, Conservation Associate with Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

The Conservation Cropping Systems for Improving Soil Health project will focus on producers located throughout Illinois who are interested in installing any or all of the previously mentioned practices.  To take advantage of this special conservation funding opportunity, interested producers should submit an EQIP application to their local NRCS field office by the cutoff date of July 17, 2015. Producers are reminded that they can submit an EQIP application to their local field office at any time throughout the year and that the deadline applies only for consideration for this special project.

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program hopes to enroll approximately 65 producers in different counties across the state of Illinois into the Conservation Cropping Systems for Soil Health project. Farmers who are admitted into the project will implement the key conservation practices already mentioned over the course of the next four years. Partners like Illinois Stewardship Alliance and County Soil and Water Conservation Districts have been leading planning and outreach efforts and are confident that this project will help improve soil health and water quality throughout the state.