USDA Expands Climate Smart Agriculture Opportunities

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced new and expanded opportunities for climate smart agriculture in 2022. First is nationwide availability of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Incentive Contracts option, as well as a new and streamlined EQIP Cover Crop Initiative and added flexibilities for producers to easily re-enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Specifically, NRCS is investing $38 million through the new targeted Cover Crop Initiative in 11 states to help agricultural producers mitigate climate change through the widespread adoption of cover crops. States include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and South Dakota. Meanwhile, Conservation Incentive Contracts offer producers annual incentive payments to implement management practices as well as conservation evaluation and monitoring activities to help manage, maintain and improve priority natural resource concerns within state high-priority areas and build on existing conservation efforts. Additionally, NRCS updated CSP to allow an agricultural producer to immediately re-enroll in the program following an unfunded application to renew an existing contract, rather than having to wait two years before applying again.

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