Natural Resources Conservation Service Accepting Applications for Conservation Programs

Posted: September 22, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications to help producers improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, and achieve other environmental benefits.

NRCS will be able to provide funding assistance directly to Pennsylvania farmers and landowners in Fiscal Year 2016 to help them implement conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the agency’s largest Farm Bill conservation program, the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program, and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Interested producers should visit their local NRCS service center for sign-up information.

“USDA conservation programs offer farmers and forestland managers a variety of options to conserve natural resources while boosting production on their lands,” State Conservationist Denise Coleman said. “This conservation investment helps improve environmental health and the economy of Pennsylvania’s rural communities.”

EQIP, RCPP and AMA provide financial assistance for a variety of conservation activities, such as nutrient management, reduced tillage, field buffers, rotational grazing systems and much more. RCPP focuses on public-private partnerships in designated geographic areas to enable private companies, local communities and other non-government partners a way to invest in conservation efforts to help keep our private land resilient and water clean.

For FY 2016, funding for contracts through RCPP will be available for the following projects:

  • Delaware River Watershed Working Lands Conservation and Protection Partnership (Parts of Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery Counties within designated watershed clusters)
  • Comprehensive Watershed Conservation in Dairy and Livestock Landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay (Bradford, Juniata and Lancaster Counties)
  • Mason-Dixon Working Lands Partnership (Franklin County and the Pretty Boy watershed in York County)
  • Cerulean Warbler Appalachian Forestland Enhancement (Multiple Counties)

The deadline to submit applications to be considered in the 2016 first ranking period for funding consideration in Pennsylvania for EQIP, AMA and RCPP is Friday, October 16, 2015. Applications received after that date will be accepted and considered for funding in the second ranking in December, if funds remain.

Additionally, NRCS offers special initiatives through EQIP, including:

  • On-Farm Energy Initiative: helps producers conserve energy on their operations.
  • Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative: helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season into the cold months, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature and conserve water and energy.
  • Organic Initiative: helps producers to install conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.

To participate in USDA conservation programs, applicants should be farmers or farm or forest landowners and must meet eligibility criteria. To take advantage of NRCS technical assistance and expertise or federally funded conservation on your farm or land, please contact your local USDA NRCS Field Office , or visit our website for applications and program information.

Contact Information

Molly McDonough
Phone: 717-237-2208