The Woodward News

December 11, 2013

Environmental applications due

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — According to National Resources Conservation Service spokesman Tom Lucas too many agricultural producers are missing out on the benefits of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program or EQIP.

For that reason, Lucas wants to remind agricultural producers that the deadline for making application for EQIP is looming.

Those applications are due in your local county NRCS office by Dec. 20, Lucas said.

The EQIP provides financial assistance for eligible producers to help plan and implement conservation practices that address existing natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.  Another purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations, according to Lucas.

What that means in English, said Lucas, is more meaningful to each and every producer than they may think.

“So let’s say you have some land that has a deep canyon,” Lucas said. “You might want a pond to control erosion or for your livestock. Well if you applied for the program we would cost share to build a pond.”

Lucas said the program is built to help many producers, but of special interest might be new producers who have limited financial resources and who want to improve the productivity of their land by addressing conservation problems.

“A lot of these conservation things that you want to do are very expensive,” Lucas said “And by NRCS helping you bare the cost you can increase the productivity of your land,” Lucas said  “You might be keep delaying doing those conservation project because of the expense but by doing that you might be delaying having better productivity of your land.”

Eligible landowners and operators in Oklahoma need to apply at their local NRCS office by December 20 to be considered for the current ranking period.  While local offices accept EQIP applications throughout the year, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods.  To be eligible for this enrollment, producers are encouraged to have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.

“We are making a real effort right now to get people signed up because we don’t know what the Farm Bill is going to be and we want to get as many people helped as we can while there is money,” Lucas said.

The Woodward NRCS office is located at 3300 Oklahoma Avenue.