NRCS Update

This just in from NRCS... Conservation Assistance and Funding Applications Being Accepted Apply before November 15, 2013 GAINESVILLE, FL, October 31, 2013 — Now is the time for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to visit their local USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office to receive more information and apply for conservation technical assistance and possible funding opportunities. NRCS offices across the country, including those in Florida, are resuming work with farmers and ranchers to implement conservation activities. All offices are open and are working to address the backlog of requests expediently. “If you are interested in conservation assistance you should visit with our staff as soon as possible,” said Assistant State Conservationist for Financial Programs, Jeffrey Woods. “Our agency is able to proceed with implementation of several conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program.” Florida NRCS has established November 15, 2013, as the application cutoff date for consideration for Federal Fiscal Year 2014 funds for these two programs. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a conservation program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Through EQIP, NRCS develops contracts with agricultural producers to voluntarily implement conservation practices. Persons engaged in livestock or agricultural production and owners of non-industrial private forestland are eligible for the program. The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land. CSP encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities. Applications received after November 15th will be considered for future funding periods. Authority to enroll acres in several other programs, including the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), expired on September 30, 2013, due to the expiration of the Farm Bill. Additional information on NRCS, conservation assistance, and programs is available on its website at www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov or at your local USDA - NRCS office. Polk County-Bartow Service Center, Polk SWCD 1700 Highway 17 South, Suite #2,Bartow, FL 33830-6633, (863) 533-2051/(863) 533-1884 (FAX) and Hillsborough County-Plant City Service Center, 201 S. Collins Street, Suite 202, Plant City, FL 33563-5531, 813-752-1474/(813) 759-6530 (FAX)

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