New Climate Friendly Signup Concludes January 25
ATHENS, GEORGIA, Jan. 11, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced several new and expanded opportunities for conservation programs that lend to climate-smart agriculture production in fiscal year 2022. Among these is the Cover Crop Initiative (CCI) that incentivizes the use of cover crops on Georgia’s agricultural land.
The counties included in this targeted effort to improve soil health through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are: Baker, Baldwin, Ben Hill, Bleckley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Chatham, Coffee, Colquitt, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Effingham, Emanuel, Glascock, Grady, Greene, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Marion, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Peach, Pulaski, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Sumter, Taliaferro, Taylor, Telfair, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Warren, Washington, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth.
“Cover crops provide multiple benefits to the land, a producer’s bottom line, and are a critical tool to help them combat the effects of climate change,” NRCS State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph said. “By drastically reducing erosion and improving the availability of nutrients and water, cover crops help build a more extreme weather resilient landscape and help Georgia’s farmers and ranchers management goals.”
The EQIP CCI is aimed at improving soil health with conservation practice standard (CPS) 340 – Cover Crop, through a targeted, rapid, and streamlined application and contract approval process. Through this initiative, NRCS can support the goals of agricultural producers and increase the critical environmental benefits that cover crops provide.
To learn more about cover crop termination guidelines, selection tools and more, visit the NRCS Cover Crops and Soil Health webpage.
How to Apply
NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round, but to be included in this funding batch, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center and apply by January 25, 2022.
Through conservation programs, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help producers and landowners make conservation improvements on their land that benefit natural resources, build resiliency, and contribute to the nation’s broader effort to combat the impacts of climate change. More broadly, these efforts build on others across USDA to encourage use of conservation practices. For example, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently provided $59.5 million in premium support for producers who planted cover crops on 12.2 million acres through the new Pandemic Cover Crop Program. Last week, RMA announced a new option for insurance coverage, the Post Application Coverage Endorsement, for producers who “split apply” fertilizer on corn.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air, and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local and Tribal governments.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.