Area farmers and forest landowners can apply now for funding assistance to help install conservation practices that reduce nutrient and sediment runoff and improve water quality. Funding is available through three separate programs run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Through Feb. 7, farmers in all areas can enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). This program emphasizes conservation performance — farmers earn higher payments for higher performance. Some popular enhancements used by farmers under CSP include using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides; introducing cover crops, no-till, and/or conservation crop rotation; rotational grazing and woodlot improvements.
A second program is available to help producers improve air quality and conserve energy on the farm through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Numerous conservation practices that increase energy efficiency also improve air quality. Some of the more popular practices include cover crops and conservation tillage on cropland, and heavy use areas for livestock. NRCS will accept EQIP applications until Feb. 21.
Farmers and forest landowners in the Fivemile Creek-East Fork Little Miami River Watershed in Clermont and Brown Counties are eligible for funding to help install conservation practices under NRCS’s National Water Quality Initiative, or NWQI. The Fivemile Creek watershed is one of only three in Ohio where landowners are eligible for these funds. Like EQIP, funding is available for a variety of conservation practices under NWQI, including cover crops, conservation tillage, rotational grazing, and more. The application deadline for NWQI funds is February 21.
In Clermont County, agricultural producers interested in applying for funding under the CSP, EQIP or NWQI programs should contact Lori Lenhart (513) 732-2181, ext. 102 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.