The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced their deadline for Farm Bill funding programs. For 2013 funding, the cut-off date to apply for EQIP, WHIP, and CSP is November 16, 2012. By the cut-off date you must submit a program application.
The primary program that offers assistance to growers with resource concerns is the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). Incentive payments are being offered to permanent tree and bush crops (e.g. blueberry, grape), sod, and nursery crops for Irrigation Water Management. If you have irrigated a minimum of two of the last five years, you irrigate for a minimum of 9 out of 12 months, and you are willing to install soil moisture monitoring devices and keep records then you could earn up to $16 per acre per year. In greenhouses, conversion to ebb and flow irrigation systems and capillary mats can be cost shared. Irrigation Storage Reservoirs bring $3,693/acre-foot.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a program that encourages agricultural producers to maintain existing best management conservation activities and adopt additional enhancements on their operations. If you are accepted into the nationally competitive program you may receive base payments of up to $15 per acre for 5 years.
For more information visit: www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov/programs or call Jack Creighton, USDA-NRCS District Conservationist, Manasota Service Center at 941-907-0011.