USDA Conservation Programs Application Date Extended

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has received notification from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Tennessee that the application period has been extended for agricultural and non-industrial private forestland program for technical and financial assistance. The original cutoff date had been Dec. 20, 2013 and has been changed to Jan. 17, 2014.

Producers are encouraged to sign up throughout the year. This signup cutoff date is for the first evaluation funding consideration.  Pending the availability of funds, additional evaluation periods may occur. Cutoff dates will be posted on the Tennessee website at http://www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.  The signup cutoff deadline applies to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and EQIP National Initiatives and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and WHIP National Initiatives. 

“When landowners take part in conservation cost share programs, the funds filter through the community, and the initial investment rolls over several times, benefitting the whole area,” said Kevin Brown, Tennessee NRCS State Conservationist. The funds from both EQIP and WHIP help farmers improve the natural resources on private working lands in Tennessee. Conservation practices help the environment while also making the land more productive by addressing issues like water quantity, water and air quality, wildlife habitat, and soil health.

Eligible producers with a conservation plan for their operation receive priority for financial assistance. NRCS staff is available to help producers create conservation plans.  Only projects that are “ready to implement” will be ranked for funding.  Applications can be submitted anytime throughout the year.

NRCS's conservation programs address resource concerns such as soil erosion, soil health, irrigation efficiency, impaired water quality, and fragmented wildlife habitat.  EQIP, one of NRCS’s largest conservation programs, helps eligible producers plan and implement conservation practices that provide opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, energy, air, and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.

The TWRA has four private lands biologists that work out of NRCS offices and will develop wildlife habitat plans for landowners and guide them through the USDA application process.  Once plans are accepted in programs, the biologists will also provide advice to help the participants successfully implement their habitat practices.  Their assistance is also available to landowners that do not desire to participate in USDA programs.

Contact information for the TWRA biologists, USDA offices, and information on USDA programs can be found at www.twraprivatelands.org , by contacting their local USDA Service Center, or by calling the TWRA Wildlife and Forestry Division at 615 781-6610.

More information about WHIP and EQIP and other NRCS programs can be found at  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs.


2015-16 Sport Fishing Regulations Postponed Until December Meeting

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission postponed decisions on the 2015-16 sport fish regulations until its December meeting. The action came during the commission’s Oct. 29-20 meeting held in Greeneville at the General Morgan Hotel Conference Center. The TFWC also proposed an amendment to the sport fishing regulations (proclamation 14-17) that would change regulations to ... (click for more)

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Announces New Strategic Plan To Ensure A Bright Future

The  Appalachian Trail Conservancy   has announced a five-year strategic plan that will advance the health and long-term management of the Appalachian Trail. The plan, which was the culmination of a two-year collaborative process between the ATC and the ATC’s board of directors, is a vision and strategy that will build on the organization’s stewardship of the trail ... (click for more)

Chickamauga Lock To Reopen As Soon As Next Thursday

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District  plans to reopen Chickamauga Lock to all navigation traffic as early as next Thursday. An inspection of the upper gate anchorage and a repair plan were completed today. Chickamauga Lock closed on Monday after a routine inspection revealed a crack in the anchorage of the upper gate. Lt. Col. John Hudson, commander ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

A Vote For Education Is Critical In Tennessee

In a state where just 28 percent of eighth graders are proficient in math and 33 percent are proficient in reading according to national assessments, education is deserving of more attention in 2014 elections. Across the country, more parents are making informed decisions about their child’s education, but for Volunteer State parents without resources, choices are difficult to come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In November

As the first day of November arrives today, it is cold enough in my garden to officially certify that fall has fell! There are even signs of ice on the ground but there is a bounty crop of acorns so, in keeping with our monthly tradition, some will get shiny acorns and others will get a chunk of cold ice: A SHINY ACORN for Patriots football coach Bill Belichick for scoffing at ... (click for more)