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FUNDING NOW AVAILABLE FOR CONSERVATION COVER CROPS-Colorado Landowners Encouraged to Apply Today

DENVER, CO, Jan. 12, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing a new streamlined Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Cover Crop Initiative (CCI) in 11 states including Colorado. Colorado farmers are highly encouraged to contact their local NRCS field office immediately if they wish to participate.

"Producers can apply right now for EQIP-CCI funding. Those who have fully established eligibility records with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) have the potential to know if their project will be funded before leaving the UDSA service center," said Tim Macklin, Acting NRCS State Conservationist in Colorado. "Interested farmers should act immediately; waiting until the final application cutoff date of Friday, February 4, 2022 will risk waiting until future funding opportunities."

Nationally, NRCS is investing $38 million in 11 states through the Cover Crop Initiative. It is aimed at helping agricultural producers mitigate climate change through the widespread adoption of cover crops. "Colorado was selected for this Pilot based on our demonstrated demand by our agricultural producers for additional support for the cover crop practices," Macklin goes on to say.

Contracts awarded under the CCI Pilot will be solely for the implementation of cover crops on cropland (CP#340). Ag producers interested in additional conservation measures and practices should contact the local NRCS field office about planning conservation projects.

If you are interested in applying to implement cover crops through the CCI Pilot, please be prepared to provide information about your anticipated crop rotation, any soil testing, and other relevant resource information like a nutrient management plan, soil health assessment, and pest management plan, including a chemical list for crop fields you wish to enroll. This will help to facilitate planning your project. You will also want to ensure that you have worked with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to update all your agricultural producer records for fiscal year 2022.

All EQIP eligibility, programmatic rules, and policies apply as CCI aims to help improve air quality, increase crop diversity, decrease soil erosion, build, or improve soil organic matter, and much more. ‘Producers who participate in RMA crop insurance should work with their crop insurance agent to ensure the planned cover crop and termination methods meets RMA criteria.’

EQIP Cover Crop Initiative

The initiative is aimed at improving soil health through a targeted, rapid, and streamlined application and contract approval process. NRCS will continue to build on this framework and streamlined application process to support farmers and ranchers across the country.

The Benefits

Cover crops offer agricultural producers a natural and inexpensive climate solution through their ability to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide into soils. They can provide an accelerated, positive impact on natural resource concerns focused on improving soil health all while making conservation compliance easier.

Nationally, in fiscal 2021, NRCS provided technical and financial assistance to help producers plant 2.3 million acres of cover crops through EQIP.

How to Apply

NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs – including EQIP and CSP – year-round, however interested producers and landowners should contact their local NRCS field office TODAY, but no later than February 4, 2022 to be considered for CCI funding.


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