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Applications accepted for conservation program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications to help producers improve water and air quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations and achieve other environmental benefits.

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Minnesota producers implement conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the agency’s largest Farm Bill conservation program. Interested producers should visit their local NRCS service center for details on sign-up periods.

The program “offers farmers, ranchers and forestland managers a variety of options to conserve natural resources,” said Mark Dybdal, conservation program manager. “This conservation investment helps improve environmental health and the economy of Minnesota’s communities.”

EQIP provides financial assistance for conservation activities, such as drainage water management, reduced tillage, cover crops, rotational grazing systems and more.

The deadline for the next sign-up period in Minnesota is Friday, December 20. Additional signup deadlines are January 17, February 21 and March 21.

Additionally, NRCS offers special initiatives through EQIP, including:

● On-Farm Energy Initiative: helps producers conserve energy on their operations.

● Organic Initiative: helps producers install conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.

For more information about EQIP or other technical or financial assistance programs offered by NRCS, contact the Douglas County service center at (320) 763-3191.