Aid Available to Conserve Florida’s Natural Resources

Jim Rogers Environment, Florida

Florida growers and others looking to make farm improvements can apply for aid from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

natural resources

CIG
The NRCS will invest up to $900,000 for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for agricultural resource priorities in Florida.

Fiscal Year 2022 conservation resource priorities for the NRCS in Florida are: climate resilience, grazing, soil health and urban agriculture. Grants from $25,000 to $250,000 will be awarded to applicants matching those funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis from non-federal sources. That can include cash or in-kind contributions. U.S. based, non-federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply for projects carried out in Florida.

CIG are competitive grants that drive public and private sector innovation in resource conservation. These projects inspire creative problem solving that boosts production on farms, ranches and private forests that improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat. Under the state CIG, public and private grantees develop the tools, technologies and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges.

Up to 10% of the funds are for proposals from historically underserved producers, veteran farmers or ranchers, or community-based organizations representing these entities.

Complete CIG applications must be submitted through grants.gov. The deadline to submit a proposal is Aug. 31, 2022. For more information, contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center.

EQUIP
Agricultural producers and landowners in Florida also can apply to participate in the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This includes financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements that address resource concerns.

“Using EQIP conservation practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations,” said Juan C. Hernandez, NRCS state conservationist in Florida. “If you have an agricultural resource concern you are ready to address or a management system you want to try, now is the time to apply for EQIP.”

While applications are accepted for EQIP throughout the year, the current funding cycle for Florida NRCS closes on Sept. 2. Interested producers and landowners can submit applications to their local NRCS office. All applications received after that date will be considered for a future funding cycle.

Once an application has been filed, the local NRCS conservation planner will have a one-on-one consultation with the applicant to identify the applicant’s goals and objectives for the land and assess the condition of natural resources. An NRCS conservation planner will present conservation practices or systems to address and enhance these natural resources.

The amount of financial assistance available can vary based on practice priority and applicant status. Contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center for more information.

Source: USDA NRCS

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