DAVIS, Calif., Oct. 29, 2021The Natural Resources Conservation Service  (NRCS) announced fiscal year 2022 assistance opportunities for agricultural producers  and private landowners for key programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives  Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). While NRCS accepts applications for these  programs yearround, producers and landowners should apply by statespecific,  application cutoff dates to be considered for this years funding. California Application Cutoff Dates are listed below:

  • Signup Period 1 for EQIP: December 10, 2021
  • Signup Period 2 for EQIP: April 1, 2022
  • CSP: April 1, 2022
  • ACEP: December 1, 2021

NRCS offers assistance at no cost to give our customers personalized advice  and information, based on the latest science and research, to help them make informed  decisions. If a producer chooses to take the next step towards improving their  operations, we can work with them to develop a personalized conservation plan, with  conservation practices that can help them reach their production and conservation  goals. The conservation plan defines and explains existing resources in a simple, easy to  understand manner.

Typically, the plan will include land use maps, soils information, inventory of  resources, engineering notes, and other supporting information. One benefit to  landowners who work with NRCS professional conservationist to develop a plan is an  increased potential for participating in financial assistance programs and is a good first  step in the overall process.

Landowners can also choose to apply for financial assistance to get help installing the conservation practices outlined in their conservation plan through any one of the programs mentioned above. Through conservation pro-grams, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help producers and landowners make conservation improvements on their land that benefit natural resources, build resiliency and contribute to the nations broader effort to combat the impacts of climate change.

NRCS accepts applications for its conservation programs yearround. State Technical Committees, composed of producers and landowners, work with NRCS to set statespecific, ranking dates to evaluate applications for funding. These dates account for producer needs, staff workload, and ensure potential participants have ample opportunity to apply. Producers should apply by Californiaspecific ranking dates to be considered for funding in the current cycle. Funding is provided through a competitive process. Ranking dates for all programs and states are available at nrcs.usda.gov/staterankingdates. Applications received after application deadlines will be automatically deferred to the next funding period. Producers, landowners and forest managers interested in applying for assistance should contact the NRCS at their local USDA Service Center.

EQIP provides cost share assistance for producers to use 170plus conservation practices to address a wide variety of resource concerns. CSP helps producers take their conservation activities to the next level through comprehensive conservation and advanced conservation activities. ACEP helps producers enroll wetlands, grasslands and farmlands into easements for longterm protection.

NRCS conservation programs play a critical role in USDAs commitment to partnering with farmers, ranchers, forest landowners and local communities to deliver climate solutions that strengthen agricultural operations and rural America. States may prioritize a variety of voluntary conservation practices through these NRCS programs, including those that support climatesmart agriculture and forestry (CSAF). In fiscal year 2022, EQIP and CSP will provide targeted funding for CSAF practices, and Conservation Incentive Contracts a new EQIP program will be available on a future date nationwide with an emphasis on CSAF practices. NRCS will also prioritize climate investments through ACEP and Conservation Innovation Grants.

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