USDA Invites Public Comment on Interim Rule for Environmental Quality Incentives Program

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting public comments on its interim rule for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The rule includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill. These include creating incentive contracts and payments for incentive practices to better support locally led conservation needs, as well as requiring NRCS to offer an advance payment option for historically underserved producers. The interim rule also raises the payment cap for producers participating in the Organic Initiative to $140,000. Additionally, it expands the Conservation Innovation Grant program, which is funded through EQIP, to include opportunities for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials and Soil Health Demonstration Trials. NRCS invites comments on the interim EQIP rule through February 17, 2020.