Lanny Miller, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), announces a second ranking cutoff date of July 25, 2008 for fiscal year 2008 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds. Oklahoma funded $22.5 million in contracts after the initial cutoff period that was announced in the fall of 2007. In the meantime additional applications have been filed for 2008 consideration. These applications will be ranked and considered for funding along with the original pool of unfunded applications. In addition, all new applications that are received by July 25, 2008 will be ranked. EQIP contracts are intended to treat locally determined, high priority resource concerns.

EQIP is a voluntary, financial assistance program that helps fund on-farm conservation practices including those aimed at improving irrigation efficiency; managing nutrient run-off and/or animal waste; improving the health of native plant communities; and reducing soil loss.

Applicants must have their farm records established and an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) certification in place with the Farm Service Agency (FSA). In addition, the applicant must be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetlands conservation provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985. Applications will not be evaluated unless the required farm records are in place by the cutoff date.

Only applications received by July 25, 2008 will be ranked and considered during this application ranking and selection period. Applications will be evaluated according to locally developed ranking criteria.

“We always accept applications for participation in the EQIP program on a continuous basis,” adds Miller. “However, only applications received by July 25, 2008, will be ranked and considered during this second selection period.” Evaluated applications will be grouped and selected for funding until the funds are expended. It is anticipated that not all of these applications will be funded at this time due to the high interest in applying conservation practices. Unfunded applications will be maintained for future funding consideration in the 2009 program year which begins in October. Successful applicants with high priority applications will be contacted to develop contracts.

Individual producers that have high priority resource concerns and are interested in participation in EQIP may apply at any time at the NRCS or conservation district office in their county. Additional information on EQIP, including eligible practices and office locations, is available at http://www.ok.nrcs.usda.gov.