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Forest with trees and grasslands, Forest Management Courses.The Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering an opportunity for landowners to apply for cost assistance with conservation practices like tree planting, forest stand improvement, invasive species control, wildlife habitat improvement and many others.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service News Release, Indianapolis, IN, October 11, 2023 – Farm Bill program application dates have been set for Indiana’s agricultural producers who want to improve natural resources and address concerns on their land. Curtis Knueven, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist, announced that December 8 will be the application deadline for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in Indiana. This year’s funding levels are a historic high for Indiana NRCS, bringing $42 million in EQIP and $22 million in CSP for Indiana landowners.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available for agricultural producers. Through EQIP, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve soil health, improve water and air quality and create wildlife habitat. Also included in this sign up are several state and national initiatives. A full list of initiatives can be found by visiting www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs-initiatives/eqip-environmental-quality-incentives/indiana/environmental-quality-incentives.

“EQIP helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals,” said Knueven. “Farmers can receive assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on their working agricultural land while helping to increase their yields.”

CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps producers who are already practicing good stewardship to take their natural resource management to the next level. The program helps to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.

“Whether you are looking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop resiliency, or develop wildlife habitat, we can custom design a CSP plan to help you meet those goals,” Knueven said. “We can help you identify natural resource problems in your operation and provide technical and financial assistance to solve those problems or attain higher stewardship levels in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner.”

While applications are accepted year-round, interested producers should work with their local NRCS staff and apply by December 8 to be considered for the current funding period. Applications received after December 8 will automatically be considered during the next funding cycle.

For more information about Farm Bill programs and other technical and financial assistance available through Indiana NRCS conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/indiana or contact your district conservationist www.farmers.gov/working-with-us/service-center-locator.

Resources:
Woodland Stewadrship for Landowners: EQUP, video, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners: Single Tree and Patch-Cut Harvesting, Purdue Extension – FNR Video
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners YouTube Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR
Woodland Management Moment: Invasive Species Control Process, Purdue Extension – FNR Video
Woodland Management Moment YouTube Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR
Invasive Species YouTube Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Report Invasive Species, Purdue Invasive Species
The GLEDN Phone App – Great Lakes Early Detection Network
EDDMaps – Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: Uneven-aged Management, Purdue Extension – FNR Video
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: Even-aged Management, Purdue Extension – FNR Video
Finding help from a professional forester, Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center

Natural Resources Conservation Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Lenny Farlee, Extension Forester
Hardwood Tree Improvement & Regeneration Center (HTIRC)
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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