The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced several new and expanded opportunities for conservation programs that lend to climate-smart agriculture production in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. Among these is the Cover Crop Initiative (CCI) that incentivizes the use of cover crops on Mississippi’s agricultural land.
The counties included as part of this targeted effort to improve soil health through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are Adams, Bolivar, Claiborne, Coahoma, Copiah, Desoto, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jefferson, Leflore, Lincoln Madison, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, Tunica, Warren, Washington, and Yazoo.
“Cover crops provide multiple benefits in a cropping system including preventing erosion, supply nutrients, and improving the availability of soil and water,” said Michael Carr, acting NRCS state conservationist in Mississippi. “This funding will provide an opportunity for producers in the selected counties to plant the best cover crop species to meet their production and conservation goals for their farms.”
The EQIP CCI aims to improve soil health with conservation practice standard (CPS) 340 – Cover Crop through a targeted, rapid, and streamlined application and contract approval process. Through this initiative, NRCS can support the goals of agricultural producers and increase the critical benefits that cover crops provide.
How to Apply
NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round, but to be included in this funding batch, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center and apply by January 25, 2022.
NRCS is under Covid-19 limitations. NRCS employees are limited in the amount of direct contact we can have with customers both for your safety and ours. This does not mean field offices will not assist you. It only means that you may need to be more persistent and always contact the office by phone or by email before making an office visit. We’ve provided a link to our online field office locator: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov. By using this locator tool, applicants can find contact information for your local field office. Covid-19 is new for all of us, but we have found a way to operate and assist producers in an effort to treat environmental concerns. For additional information about EQIP Cover Crop Initiative, contact your local USDA service center. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.
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