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.