Conservation opportunities for new farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, as the deadline to submit applications for Ohio’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for beginning farmers.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program which helps beginning farmers make conservation work for them. Beginning farmers can receive enhanced or higher level EQIP incentive payments for conservation practices to help reduce the risk and financial burden of implementing new conservation practices.

Ohio dedicates a portion of its total EQIP allocation specifically to beginning farmers. EQIP gives no preference to the size of the operation; small agriculture operations compete equally with larger ones. 

NRCS offers a wide variety of practices for beginning farmers interested in livestock, forestry, pasture/grazing operations and specialty, organic and row crop production. These practices help beginning farmers meet their goals to improve their operations, commodity production and environmental improvement. Beginning farmers are those who have not previously farmed or have not operated a farm for more than 10 years.  Applicants should be farmers, or farm or forest landowners and meet eligibility criteria. To participate in USDA conservation programs, contact your local NRCS conservationist as soon as possible. 

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