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NRCS funding available for 2013 programs

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in Virginia has funding available for producers interested in improving the health and productivity of their land in 2013.

“Many farmers may not realize that we are still offering technical and financial assistance to address resource concerns on crop and grazing lands, protect wildlife habitat, and keep land in agricultural production,” said Jack Bricker, Virginia NRCS State Conservationist.

Farmers can sign up for conservation programs throughout the year, but funding selections are made at specific times and the first cutoff date is January 18, 2013.  It is especially important for producers to get their applications in as soon as possible to be eligible for limited funding.

“The Environmental Quality Incentives Program or EQIP is our most robust offering with many options for Virginia producers,” says Bricker.  “This year, we have popular soil health practices such as cover crops, crop rotation, nutrient management, and rotational grazing as well as payment options for farmers to develop plans to better manage their resources.”

“These conservation activity plans can help producers better manage animal waste, grazing lands, fish and wildlife habitat, pollinator habitat, and energy consumption.  Producers who grow nursery stock, vegetables and specialty crops may be interested in developing an irrigation water management plan to be eligible for our new micro-irrigation practices.”

The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program or WHIP is back for 2013 as well.  NRCS can provide funding to create upland wildlife and aquatic habitats along with helping producers maintain or improve existing habitat.  This assistance also includes special initiatives focused on restoring Longleaf pine forests and reversing the decline of the threatened Golden-Winged Warbler.

If you are interested in Farm Bill programs, contact your local NRCS office to identify and plan the conservation measures you would like to implement on your land.  The district conservationist can help you develop a plan, identify recommended practices, and pursue funding through one of the many Farm Bill program options available.  To learn more, contact Charles J. Ivins, NRCS District Conservationist for Augusta and Highland Counties at 540-248-6218 x122.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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