USDA Press Release, Contact: FPAC.BC.Press@usda.gov, June 24, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $10 million to support climate-smart agriculture and forestry through voluntary conservation practices in 10 targeted states. This assistance, available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), will help agricultural producers plan and implement voluntary conservation practices that sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change on working lands. Producers in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin can apply for this funding opportunity. Each state will determine its own signup period, with signups expected to begin on or around June 24 in most states. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which administers EQIP, selected states based on demonstrated demand for additional support for climate-smart practices. This pilot will be expanded through a comprehensive effort across all states and programs to support farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in fiscal year 2022. “Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are the best stewards of our lands and waters, and they play a critical role in climate change mitigation,” said Gloria Montaño Greene, USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. Climate-smart practices include activities that:
· store carbon and improve resilience and soil health, such as reduced and no-till, cover crops, and prescribed grazing;
· reduce GHG emissions, including methane and nitrous oxide, using practices such as ruminant feed management, manure management, and fertilizer management;
· improve on-farm energy efficiency, such as improved irrigation efficiency, reduced fuel use, and energy conservation; and
· improve forest management to increase forest resilience and health.