The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging agricultural producers and forest landowners in Vermont to participate in voluntary conservation programs and adopt climate-smart practices in fiscal year 2024 as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which help a wide variety of producers, including urban and organic producers.
“Whether you measure your farm in square feet or acres, or you farm in the country or in the middle of the city, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has conservation assistance for you,” Vermont State Conservationist Travis Thomason said. “Right now, we are offering a historic amount of funding through both the Farm Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act, so you should apply today. We encourage all who have natural resource concerns, including producers who haven’t worked with us before, to consider applying. A conservation plan and program may be right for your ag operation.”
For fiscal year 2024, NRCS has $3 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funds to invest in climate-smart mitigation activities. This year, NRCS expanded the list of those activities as well as expanded priority areas for ACEP for grasslands, wetlands and farmlands at risk of conversion. Learn more about those expansions in our Sept. 28, 2023 news release.
Additionally, for fiscal year 2024, NRCS has over $2 billion in Farm Bill funding available to producers for priorities like organic and urban agriculture, soil health, water quality and quantity and wildlife habitat development. This extensive amount of funding will be used to meet producer demand for our oversubscribed programs, maximize climate benefits and help producers address their natural resource challenges.
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