Butler SWCD and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) work with area farmers and landowners on a variety of Conservation Incentive Programs through the Farm Bill.
In order for a landowner or operator to apply for any federally funded program(s), the applicant must meet all of the eligibility requirements set up by the farm bill. The land to be enrolled in the conservation program must also be registered with the Farm Service Agency (FSA). You may contact FSA during normal business hours at (513)642-3715 to check on this information, or set up an appointment to register a farm.
These programs includes:
CIG - Conservation Innovation Grants
Applications Due March 15
The purpose of the CIG program is to leverage the Federal investment in environmental enhancement while stimulating the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, in conjunction with agricultural production. The CIG program uses Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or non-governmental organizations, Federally-recognized Tribes, or individuals.
CIG enables NRCS to work with other public and private entities and individuals to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns. CIG will benefit agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations.
CRP - Conservation Reserve Program
Provides rental payments to producers who plant sensitive lands (such as Highly Erodible Land) to long-term cover. Cover options include trees; cool season grasses; and warm season grasses. Cost share for establishing conservation cover is 55%.
The 2020 signup period is now open. Contact Butler County FSA at 513-642-3715 to signup acreage today.
The process for Conservation Reserve Program begins in the Farm Service Agency (FSA) office, with John Warrick. He will have you fill out a CRP-2 form and mark on an aerial photo where the proposed waterways are.
The CRP-2 form will then be sent to our office (Butler SWCD) for review, then we will set up an appointment with you and the operator to discuss the proposed waterways and look at the site to see if it is eligible for CRP. If the site is Ineligible, then we will discuss ways that we can try to get other cost share assistance for the problem.
If the site is elligible, we will do a site visit, set up a time to flag and survey the property, and design the waterways. Approx. 2 weeks will be needed for this design process. (Longer time should be allowed for engineered projects)
Once the design is completed, we will contact you and set up a time to meet with you, the operator and if available, the contractor. At that time, we will go over the designs, contract, conservation plan and anything else that needs to be discussed.
You are responsible for providing your own contractor to build the waterways. We have a contractors list available in our office if you need one. At this time, we will also discuss when the proposed construction will take place. We will be available for any questions or assistance to you or the contractor at any time during the construction process.
After the project is completed, we will do a construction check to make sure the project was completed correctly. If there are no problems with the construction check, you will then be permitted to turn your bills to the FSA office. You will have to call FSA at 513-887-3727 to set up an appointment.
The waterways will be under contract for 10 years. During those 10 years if you have a problem with your waterways, such as a newly formed gully due to Mother Nature, or other related problems, then you are eligible for cost share assistance to repair the problem.
CSP - Conservation Stewardship Program
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary conservation program aimed at persuading producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner. CSP provides producers financial incentive to take on conservation activities. The program encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting new conservation activities; all while improving or maintaining their existing activities.
The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. CSP offers participants two possible types of payments:
Annual payment for installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities
Supplemental payment for the adoption of resource-conserving crop rotations
NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. NRCS will make CSP available nationwide on a continuous application basis.
EQIP - Environmental Quality Incentives Program
2020 EQIP Signups are open at this time with a March 20, 2020 deadline.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that provides total resource management system planning on the whole farm. It predominantly deals with, but is not limited to, addressing water quality concerns on livestock farms. A wide variety of conservation practices are available for cost share, including: rotational grazing systems; waste management systems; heavy use areas; waterways; pasture seeding, ag chemical facilities; and many more. Incentive payments are available for the installation of practices. There are opportunities for higher incentives if you are a socially disadvantaged or Limited Resource Farmer. Contract periods can range from one to 10 years. There is a continuous sign-up period for EQIP; applications are ranked and funded once per year on a funds availability basis. Ranking scores are based on the quality and number of resource concerns that will be addressed by implementing the plan. Applications compete against all other applications in the county.
This division of the EQIP program is very similar to General EQIP, but the applications are accepted for Forestry practices only. Eligible practices include: Honeysuckle and grapevine removal, Crop tree release, and tree plantings. In order to apply for this program the applicant must have been in contact with the area service forester or a consulting forester to complete a Forestry Stewardship Plan. There are minimum and maximum acreage requirements for this program.
This is the most commonly used form of EQIP. There are many acceptable practices under this category, some go towards new structures, others exist to make improvements to older structures. All practices address significant natural resource concerns. Some resource concerns take precident over others based on the severity of the situation, thus earning a higher score. It is important to remember that EQIP is a competitive program to be accepted into, competition is based on resource needs. The more resource needs the more likely your practice will be funded.
Pastureland EQIP is used to make improvements in livestock grazing systems. Pasture seeding, fertility, fencing, watering systems, grazing plans, and much more are included under this EQIP category.
For a complete list of fundable practices visit the Ohio NRCS website.
Seasonal High Tunnels for Specialty Crop
The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers. The goal of the initiative is to assist producers to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner.
How the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative Works
The Initiative may assist producers in addressing a resource concern by:
improving plant quality
improving soil quality
reducing nutrient and pesticide transportation
improving air quality through reduced transportation inputs
reducing energy use by providing consumers with a local source of fresh produce
Who Can Apply
Eligible applicants include individuals, legal entities, Indian Tribes, or joint operations engaged in agricultural production. Organic producers who grow agricultural commodities on eligible land and have natural resource concerns which may be addressed by a seasonal high tunnel may participate in the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative. Eligible producers interested in entering into a financial assistance agreement with NRCS for EQIP assistance may file an application at any time.
How To Apply
NRCS accepts and processes EQIP applications on a continuous basis. However, each state may establish deadlines for one or more application periods in which to consider eligible applications for funding. Applications submitted after these dates will be evaluated and considered for funding during later funding opportunities. Producers must submit a complete program application and other documentation to support eligibility to be considered for financial assistance through EQIP. Contact John Williams or Michaela Werling at 513-887-3720 for more information.