You have some conservation work you want to do. You talked to your district conservationist about it this summer, but you didn't make a decision. He wasn't sure when funding would be available. You want to do some of it now and some of it over the next couple of years.
Jane Hardisty, state conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, says that now or as soon is harvest is over is a good time to make decisions, get your paperwork in order and make application for funding. She's talking about funding for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, more commonly called EQIP.
The deadline for applications for this round of funding is Dec. 19. EQIP is a hard and fast contract between you and the government that you will do certain projects, and receive cost-share for them. It usually addresses various resource concerns on your farm, and often spreads over more than one year. The maximum length of contract for an EQIP project is now three years.
'We now know how much funding we have for EQIP, and we want to get it committed," Hardisty says. "That's why there is an end date if you want your application considered in this round of funding."
Actually, there is no hard and fast deadline for when you can make an application, she notes. You can show up on Dec. 20 and file an EQIP application. It's just that it will likely wait until the next round of funding is available.
"We try to get as many dollars for conservation work as we can," she says. "Often other states will have money left later, and we may be able to get more for more work in Indiana. That would mean we would have more dollars to allocate sometimes next year."
Applications for EQIP are ranked for how important the project is in terms of meeting a critical natural resource concern, she adds. The local district conservationist reviews the application compared to a set of questions based on a federal guideline. Points are assigned for certain qualities, such as if the project will solve a major environmental quality concern. Applications are then reviewed at the area level, and finally at the state level. If your application isn't approved this time, it can remain in the hopper and be reviewed again at a later date.