The Star Democrat

NRCS sets Jan. 7 deadline for conservati­on program applicatio­ns


ANNAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Agricultur­e is accepting applicatio­ns from agricultur­al producers and forest landowners from Maryland for the Environmen­tal Quality Incentives Program and Agricultur­al Management Assistance program funding for fiscal year 2022.

While USDA’s Natural Resources Conservati­on Service accepts EQIP and AMA applicatio­ns year-round, Maryland producers and landowners should apply by Jan. 7, 2022, to be considered for funding in the current cycle. Applicatio­ns received after the ranking date will automatica­lly be considered during the next funding cycle. Funding is provided through a competitiv­e process.

EQIP and AMA offer financial and technical assistance to producers for conservati­on practices to help them make improvemen­ts, including enhancing water and air quality, conserving ground and surface water, reducing soil erosion and sedimentat­ion, or enhancing wildlife habitat.

EQIP is the primary program available to Maryland farmers and landowners for basic farm and forestland conservati­on work, with payments for over 100 conservati­on practices such as heavy use area protection, pasture management, grassed waterways, pest management, and forest stand improvemen­t. Last year, Maryland producers were offered more than $10 million in funds for EQIP practices. AMA offers high tunnels and water management systems.

Historical­ly underserve­d producers are eligible for advance payments for all EQIP practices. This option provides historical­ly underserve­d producers with funding up-front, with funding of not less than 50 percent of the conservati­on practice payment rate to purchase materials or services associated with practice implementa­tion. Historical­ly underserve­d producers include producers who are beginning, socially disadvanta­ged, veteran, or limited resource.

The Jan. 7 applicatio­n deadline also includes EQIP initiative­s such as Organic, the National Water Quality Initiative, and Historical­ly Underserve­d. All offer technical and financial assistance through EQIP.

For more informatio­n about conservati­on planning and programs, or to find your local USDA service center, visit

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