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2009 application deadline for EQIP, WHIP extended to March 20

South Dakota

The deadline for submitting an application for 2009 funding consideration in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program or the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program has been extended. Janet Oertly, State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in South Dakota, said, "With the recent publication of the Interim Final Rules for EQIP and WHIP and the proposed changes to each conservation program, the application deadline is being extended a few weeks." The deadline for submitting an application for 2009 funding consideration in either conservation program is extended to March 20. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, any applications received after March 20 will be considered for Fiscal Year 2010 funding.

The EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers to address natural resource concerns through planning and implementing conservation practices on eligible land. The 2008 farm bill reauthorized EQIP and establishes the program to promote agricultural production, forest management, and environmental quality while optimizing environmental benefits. Stronger emphasis is given to forest management and conservation practices related to organic production. The 2008 farm bill authorized increased payments for socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers in addition to the beginning or limited resource producers. In addition, socially disadvantaged or beginning farmers or ranchers may receive an advance of 30 percent of the practice payment to purchase materials or contract services for the conservation practice installation.

The WHIP is a voluntary conservation program for private landowners to develop and improve fish and wildlife habitat that support wildlife populations of national, state, Tribal, and local significance. Eligible lands are private agricultural land, non-industrial forest land, and Tribal land. The 2008 farm bill authorizes WHIP practice payments to develop other types of wildlife habitat including habitat developed on pivot corners and irregular areas.

Applications for all NRCS conservation programs are continuously accepted; however, in order to be considered for EQIP or WHIP 2009 funding, an application must be submitted by March 20. Applications or additional information about the EQIP and WHIP is available from your local USDA Service Center.

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