The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds are available for producers in Arizona and New Mexico who graze livestock on public and private lands. Up to $2 million is available in each state for eligible producers.

“This funding will help advance stewardship practices on agricultural working lands by helping producers implement conservation systems that improve grazing lands and manage important watersheds that benefit the public,” said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with producers to develop conservation plans that cover all land in the farm or ranch operation, including both owned and leased land. Through EQIP, NRCS works with eligible producers to improve soil, air and water quality and other related resources.

EQIP funds announced today will be used for local, collaborative livestock grazing projects that enhance environmental quality, encourage economic stability and improve efficiency and effectiveness of federal efforts. Local projects may include federal, tribal, state and private land.

EQIP funds are used on federal lands only when conservation practices directly improve resource concerns on nonfederal lands.

In central Arizona, the Tonto EQIP pilot project allows EQIP cost-share funds to be used for any part of a ranching operation managed under a coordinated resource management plan. Eligible producers for the pilot project include those with operations that include Tonto National Forest grazing allotments. Grazing land resources in the pilot project are managed by livestock producers who operate on intermingled private, state and federal lands. More information on EQIP is available on the Internet at the Web site: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip.