USDA Funding Now Available for Grazing Land Drought Resiliency and Tribal Conservation Projects

DENVER, CO – Today, Tim Macklin, Acting State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Colorado, announced funding available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Incentive Contracts (CIC) for grazing land drought projects and tribal land agricultural conservation projects. Interested Colorado agricultural producers are encouraged to submit an application by February 18, 2022 for consideration for funding in this opportunity.

Conservation Incentive Contracts (CICs) are an option available through EQIP that offers producers financial assistance to adopt conservation management practices on working landscapes. Producers may use incentive contracts as a “steppingstone” from correcting resource issues on specific land units to achieving sustainable stewardship across their entire operation. Conservation Incentive Contracts sign-up opportunities are available nationwide to help producers address priority resource concerns in high-priority areas.

Conservation Initiative Contracts differ from traditional EQIP contracts in that they offer producers:

  • the ability to address at least one designated priority resource concern during the contract period,

  • an option to have an initial contract length of five (5) years,

  • the potential to receive payment not to exceed the payment limitation of $200,000 for the life of the 2018 Farm Bill for agreed to conservation work, and

  • two types of payments, including:

  1. Implementation payments - Paid upon certification of practice completion, and

  2. Annual payments - Include management practices that can be paid after October 1st of each year of the contract.

The NRCS also offers higher payment rates and advance payments to historically underserved (HU) producers who implement EQIP CIC practices.

Through EQIP, the Agency’s flagship program, NRCS offers conservation practices that help producers recover from the impacts of drought as well as build resiliency into their operation’s natural resources. These practices provide other key benefits, including mitigating impacts from climate change as well as drought.

In this EQIP CIC sign-up, Colorado has determined two high priority conservation project types that include:

  • Grazing land – resiliency and resistance to drought, and

  • Tribal land - all land uses (crop, pasture, range, and forest).

Landowners interested in implementing conservation projects that may not align with EQIP CIC objectives are encouraged to contact their local NRCS field office to discuss options and the development of a conservation plan with a technical expert. NRCS conservation plans can help ensure that landowners are ready to apply for future conservation funding opportunities.

How to Apply

Colorado producer interested in this targeted funding should apply by February 18, 2022 by contacting their local USDA Service Center. While USDA offices may be closed to visitors because of the pandemic, Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools.

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