Bangor, ME - Maine agricultural and forest producers who would like technical and financial assistance in managing their natural resources are encouraged to apply now for the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has been authorized to conduct an accelerated sign-up period for EQIP while work on the next federal Farm Bill continues. Approximately $5.3 million is available for eligible producers.
Applications for EQIP are accepted at USDA Service Centers in Maine on a continuous basis. Applicants must then complete a conservation plan with the assistance of NRCS staff conservationists. Applications which are accompanied by a completed conservation plan by December 5, 2007 will be considered for funding in this ranking and evaluation period.
Farmers should call or visit their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible to begin the conservation planning process and complete the necessary paperwork. USDA Service Centers are listed on-line at http://offices.usda.gov, or in the telephone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the Maine NRCS website at www.me.nrcs.usda.gov.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program offers technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers to implement conservation practices to address such concerns as soil and water quality, grazing land conservation and comprehensive nutrient management. Any producer engaged in livestock or crop production on eligible land may apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, pastureland and private non-industrial forestland.
"USDA is committed to providing conservation tools and resources to help Maine farmers ensure that their land remains healthy and productive," said NRCS State Conservationist Joyce Swartzendruber. "NRCS field staffs are available to help farmers develop a conservation plan to address their resource concerns."
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