Submitted to the Herald Review
OSCEOLA COUNTY — Michigan farmers and private forest owners will have an opportunity to receive financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced funding will be available for a number of conservation initiatives through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Initiatives included in the initial selection are targeted to priority conservation areas and resource concerns. The current selection period includes funding for conservation activity plans, organic producers and producers transitioning to organic, honey bee habitat, on-farm energy conservation and regional initiatives to improve water quality and wildlife habitat.
Funding is available to eligible agricultural producers and non-industrial private forest owners in Michigan. To be eligible for USDA programs the applicant must be in compliance with the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions of the Farm Bill. They also must meet the adjusted gross income limitations, which is currently a $900,000 yearly average. Individuals making more than a $900,000 average adjusted gross income are not eligible to apply.
If the applicant is a corporation, limited liability company or other type of entity, then each member must certify their compliance with these rules. Payments to entities will be reduced by the percent share that any non-compliant individuals have in that entity.
Financial assistance is available for implementing designated conservation practices, such as pollinator plantings with native or introduced flowering plants, windbreaks, cover crops, crop residue and tillage management and many others.
Applications are ranked and selected for funding on a competitive basis. Those who submit their application by Nov. 2, 2018, could have the first opportunity to receive fiscal year 2019 conservation financial assistance.
Conservation activities receiving financial assistance must be part of an agricultural or forest operation’s conservation plan. Successful applicants enter into a contract with NRCS to implement conservation activities and are reimbursed for a portion of the cost.
Interested producers should contact their local USDA Service Center or visit the Michigan NRCS website to find out what initiatives and practices are available in their area.
NRCS provides higher levels of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis, producers and forest owners are encouraged to submit applications at any time.
More information about conservation financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program is available at local NRCS offices and online at mi.nrcs.usda.gov.