Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the ranking dates for the On-Farm Energy, Organic, Seasonal High Tunnel and Air Quality conservation initiatives. All four initiatives offer technical and financial assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
“Producers tell us they want to apply for these initiatives, but many want more time to make sure they choose the one that’s right for their operation,” Vilsack said. “Moving to multiple ranking dates for each initiative is going to make it easier for more producers to apply and help them get started with implementing the practices they need to benefit the natural resources on their operations.”
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. There will be three ranking periods for the Organic, On-Farm Energy and Seasonal High Tunnel initiatives, all ending on February 3, March 30 and June 1, 2012. Ranking periods for the Air Quality Initiative end February 3 and March 30, 2012. At the end of a ranking period, NRCS ranks all submitted proposals for funding consideration. NRCS will notify all applicants of the results of the rankings and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.
The On-Farm Energy, Organic and Seasonal High Tunnel initiatives are available in all 50 states, the Caribbean Area and the Pacific Basin. The Air Quality Initiative is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Air Quality funding is limited to counties within these nine States that have serious air quality resource concerns related to non-attainment for Ozone and Particulate Matter.
On-Farm Energy Initiative: NRCS and producers develop Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) or farm energy audits that assess energy consumption on an operation. NRCS then