Opportunities are available for Oregon farmers, ranchers and forest owners to perform voluntary conservation activities with financial assistance from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
NRCS Oregon announces new sign-up deadlines for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP). Applicants must apply by Nov. 20 to be considered for the first round of fiscal year 2021 funding.
To apply for EQIP, contact your local USDA Service Center or apply online at farmers.gov.
To apply for RCPP and see what is available in your area, call your local USDA Service Center or lead partner for the RCPP Project. To apply for ACEP, contact your local USDA Service Center.
The Nov. 20 deadline applies to the following funding pools:
• General EQIP: In Oregon, general EQIP dollars are only available to producers within a Conservation Implementation Strategy (CIS) area. CIS’s are locally-led projects developed by farmers and partners through the NRCS Local Work Group process. See a map of current CIS’s on the NRCS Oregon homepage.
• Organic EQIP: Offers assistance to USDA certified organic producers and to producers wishing to transition their operation to obtain an organic certification.
• Seasonal High Tunnel EQIP: Offers assistance to install a seasonal high tunnel (hoop house) to extend seasonal crop production to strengthen local and regional food markets while reducing pesticide use and energy inputs.
• On-Farm Energy EQIP: Assists producers to conserve energy on their farms through an on-farm energy audit and provides assistance to implement various recommended measures identified in an energy audit.
• Sage Grouse Initiative EQIP: Focuses on making measurable and significant progress toward treating threats to rangeland health including sage grouse habitat on private lands.
• Animal Feeding Operation (AFO) Initiative: Available to AFO producers statewide to address water quality and air quality resource concerns by developing a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan to manage manure and organic byproducts; and to implement conservation practices identified in that plan.
• Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Initiative: These projects focus on reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire on private forestlands and adjacent federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
• National Water Quality Initiative: NRCS works closely with conservation partners to select priority watersheds where on-farm conservation investments will deliver the greatest water quality improvements. Fiscal year 2021 funding is available for the Lost River watershed in Klamath County.
• National Air Quality Initiative: In Oregon, NAQI funding is available to farmers in Hood River County to help orchard producers reduce the use of high-emission, diesel-fuel smudge pots, which are commonly used to protect crops from damaging spring frosts. NRCS is providing a financial incentive to help growers remove smudge pots from their operations, so they can be replaced with cleaner, more efficient systems.
• RCPP-EQIP projects: There are currently 15 active RCPP projects throughout Oregon. These are typically 5-year projects with specific goals within regions and watersheds. Visit the Oregon RCPP webpage to learn more about RCPP funding opportunities and program eligibility.
• Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP): NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to secure easements for both working agricultural lands and for wetlands. The program has two components: one for Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and one for Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE). Learn more on the Oregon ACEP webpage.