Conservation

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Arkansas is accepting applications to receive financial assistance to implement conservation activities through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the 2022 program year.

NRCS accepts program applications on a continuous basis but sets dates to batch and rank applications as funding allows. Farmers and landowners in Arkansas who submit applications to their local NRCS office by November 19, 2021, will be considered for this round of funding. Applications received after November 19, 2021, will be considered in later funding periods, subject to funding availability.

Assistance is available to help farmers and landowners plan and implement

conservation practices to improve water quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, establish or improve wildlife habitat and achieve other environmental benefits on the landscape.

EQIP contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices to improve soil health, water quality, improve grazing and forest lands, and establish or improve wildlife habitat. EQIP can also help Arkansas farmers and landowners meet Federal, State, and local environmental regulations.

Additionally, NRCS offers special initiatives, including:

Organic Initiative - helps producers install conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.

On-Farm Energy Initiative - helps producers conserve energy on their operations.

StrikeForce - additional assistance for underserved producers in 48 persistent poverty counties: Arkansas, Bradley, Chicot, Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Hempstead, Howard, Jackson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Phillips, Randolph, Searcy, Sevier, St. Francis, Woodruff, Ashley, Clay, Conway, Craighead, Crittenden, Franklin, Fulton, Independence, Izard, Jefferson, Johnson, Lincoln, Madison, Miller, Montgomery, Poinsett, Polk, Scott, Sebastian, Sharp, Stone, Union and Van Buren.

Strikeforce Healthy Forest (Keeping It In the Family) Initiative - additional assistance for underserved producers to improve forestlands with forestry conservation practices in 18 counties: Bradley, Calhoun, Clark, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Drew, Hempstead, Howard, Jefferson, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Sevier, Union.

Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative - provides financial and technical assistance to producers to enhance early successional habitat to aid in bobwhite quail recovery.

Arkansas Groundwater Initiative (AGWI) - targeted approach to address critical groundwater decline issues in the Arkansas Delta, providing assistance to agricultural producers in seven counties: Arkansas, Prairie; and portions of Craighead, Cross, Lonoke, Poinsett, St. Francis.

Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership - the Building Resilient Watersheds to Improve Drinking Water in the Ozark and Ouachita Highlands project area includes sites in six high-priority watersheds covering more than five million acres and is designed to replace degraded and undersized stream crossings, restore shortleaf pine forests, construct permanent fire breaks, reduce fuel loads and conduct controlled burns.

Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative - designed to help producers extend the growing season, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature, and conserve water and energy.

All applications will be evaluated for funding based on local, state and nationally developed criteria to optimize environmental benefits. Applications ranking highest in a funding category will be funded according to priority and is subject to availability of program funds.

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