The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is being rolled out under the new Farm Bill. This program is a cost share program to provide funding in three focus areas, these being livestock waste, cropland and grazing. The program will provide funds to promote practices such as utilizing waste storage facility, residue management, diversions, fencing, watering facilities, riparian forest Buffers, and grassland habitat management, to name a few possibilities.
There are some new rules that are in affect but the program is very similar to last year’s program. The Herkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District is assembling the USDA Local Working Group to use the expertise of; producers, agricultural agency staff, and local leader to help direct this program to the local agriculture needs.
They have selected to have a short meeting to gather input on Monday, February 9, at 1 p.m. The meeting will be held in the conference room at the USDA Service Center in Herkimer for approximately one and a half hours. Any individuals or groups that are interested in helping to direct these programs are encouraged to attend to help to steer this important program.
The main assignment for this meeting is to prepare local questions for each Local Focus Area and assign point values. There are three local focus areas that can be considered. They are livestock waste focus area, cropland focus area, and grazing focus area.
The Local Working Group (LWG) will chose which practices will be funded in each focus area and the level of cost sharing. Because Herkimer County is a part of the Upper Hudson Mohawk Watershed, the results from this meeting will be combined with the other counties in that watershed. These will then be combined with the other counties to have a consistent ranking for all the applications received.
The amount of funding requested has historically exceeded the amount available so the highest ranked applications are funded. Therefore it is very important to select ranking criteria. If you have interest in this program or have any questions call Bub Barra at 315-866-2520 ext. 3.