Florida agricultural landowners and growers with damages caused by Hurricane Ian can apply for emergency and general assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).
NRCS can provide payments, through conservation program contracts, for EQIP conservation practices that address disaster-related resource concerns on agricultural land.
NRCS is issuing EQIP early start waivers in emergency declaration counties to allow commencement of key conservation practices prior to conservation program contract approval. The Florida counties identified for EQIP emergency assistance are Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Desoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia.
Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association (PRVCGA) and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) have provided a new document for citrus growers called Practices to Consider When Applying for EQIP. The document notes that EQIP funds different practices under different funding sources. Some practices are covered under the EQIP General Program funding, and some are covered under the EQIP Emergency Assistance funding. Practices under both funding sources are described in the document. Growers are encouraged to apply for practices under both funding sources.
A few examples of practices used in groves that EQIP offers emergency assistance for include:
- Individual protective covers and citrus under protective screen
- Reflective and fabric mulch
- Debris removal from canals and streams
- Typical fencing
EQIP general funding is for practices such as:
- Cover crops between rows
- Soil moisture sensors
- Pipes that move water from retention ponds to the grove
- Eucalyptus trees or other varieties used for windbreaks
The deadline to apply for EQIP emergency assistance is Nov. 15, 2022. Contact the NRCS state office at 352-338-9500. Learn more about EQIP here.
Sources: USDA NRCS, PRVCGA and UF/IFAS
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