The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced funding opportunities for a variety of conservation programs available to agricultural producers and landowners. Some of the assistance available includes the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) accepts applications for these programs year-round, however, each state has its own set of ranking dates to be considered for fiscal year 2022 funding.
“NRCS conservation programs are good for natural resources and for your operation’s bottom line,” NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said in a press release. “Whether this is your first time working with NRCS or you want to take conservation to the next level on your land, we encourage you to contact your local NRCS field office to learn more.”
NRCS provides technical and financial assistance through various conservation programs. EQIP provides cost-share assistance for those deploying a variety of eligible conservation practices, with Conservation Incentive Contracts enabling participants to target priority resource concerns. CSP helps producers enhance their conservation approach with more specific and advanced conservation actives. ACEP assists landowners and producers to enroll wetlands, grasslands, and farmlands into easements for long-term protection. Each of the conservation programs is designed to help strengthen resilience, benefit natural resources, and collectively contribute to the broader effort of mitigating the effects of climate change.
State Technical Committees work with NRCS in setting ranking dates within individual states for application evaluation. California’s ranking date for ACEP has yet to be determined, however, the ranking date for CSP is May 27, 2022. There are multiple ranking dates for EQIP in California, with the first one coming up on December 30, 2021. Those interested in applying are encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center. Applications that are received after the specific ranking dates will be deferred to the next funding period.