Missouri NRCS Announces Application Deadline for Financial Assistance through Environmental Quality Incentives Program Conservation Incentive Contracts (EQIP-CIC)
The Missouri Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for Environmental Quality Incentives Program Conservation Incentive Contracts (EQIP-CIC). NRCS accepts applications for all its programs on a continuous basis, but applications must be filed for EQIP-CIC by April 21, 2023, to be eligible for the next round of funding.
EQIP-CIC addresses priority resource concerns in high-priority areas. Through these contracts, NRCS works with producers to strengthen the quality and condition of natural resources on their operations using incentive practices, such as forage harvest management, cover crop, prescribed grazing, irrigation water management, drainage water management, and residue and tillage management to address resource concerns such as terrestrial habitat for wildlife; livestock production limitations; soil quality limitations; source water depletion; and field sediment, nutrient and pathogen loss.
The 2018 Farm Bill introduced EQIP-CIC contracts to expand resource benefits for producers with the implementation, adoption, management, and maintenance of incentive practices that effectively address at least one eligible resource concern with a state-identified high priority area (HPA). EQIP-CIC can be a stepping-stone between EQIP and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). EQIP-CIC offers a unique opportunity for a 5-year contract with an annual payment, without enrolling the entire operation into the program. The flexibility can be a gateway to future participation in CSP enrollment and achievement of a higher level of conservation stewardship for their entire operation.
EQIP-CIC High Priority Areas in Missouri
The conservation goals and funding priorities of the EQIP-CIC High Priority Area (HPA) ranking pools are to focus on providing resource protection across Missouri.
HPA 1- Native Grassland Restoration concentrates on native grassland management for both grazing resource concerns and wildlife habitat. The focus area covers the entire state of Missouri. Eligible land uses under HPA 1 include pasture, associated agricultural land (AAL), and cropland. Priority resource concerns are terrestrial habitat and livestock production limitation.
HPA 2- Soil Health Management System focuses on improving soil health by applying a suite of conservation practices on agricultural lands. The focus area covers the entire state of Missouri. Eligible land uses under HPA 2 include cropland and pasture. The priority resource concern is soil quality limitations.
HPA 3- The Source Water Protection for Water Quality and Quantity focuses on improving drinking water quality and quantity by applying conservation on agricultural lands within targeted watersheds. The targeted watersheds are the blue areas in the Missouri Source Water Protection Priority Areas Map shown below. Eligible land uses under HPA 3 include cropland and pasture. Priority resource concerns are field sediment, nutrient and pathogen loss; soil quality limitations; and source water depletion.
Farmers can submit applications at local NRCS offices. NRCS also offers free technical assistance to all Missouri residents.
For more information about NRCS programs and assistance, visit www.mo.nrcs.usda.gov or contact the NRCS service office serving your county. NRCS employees in county offices can provide more information about how to apply for benefits offered by NRCS.
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