Getting Uncle Sam To Pay

Before you give up on applying for the government’s conservation incentive programs, here is some information to increase your odds to cash in.

Despite whatever feelings you might have about the government, when it comes to no-till, Uncle Sam “gets it” and offers incentives to help growers adopt or expand no-till operations. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that like many governmental programs, demand can far exceed available dollars. But before you write off these conservation-encouraging programs, Dan Towery asks you to recognize that there are some aces in your hand that will better your chances.

This NRCS natural resource specialist for the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) in West Lafayette, Ind., says understanding how the programs work and becoming more involved with your local conservation personnel can help give you the upper hand.

CRP And Beyond

“The most familiar program is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). It is the most significant commitment toward conservation and private lands in history,” Towery explains. “Waterways and filter strips are eligible for the continuous signup. CRP acres this year are capped at 39.2 million acres, but there are other sources for income.”

There are other programs that are not as well known. One promising program is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which is managed by the NRCS. Officially, EQIP is a voluntary program that provides incentive payments to implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land.

According to Towery, EQIP dollars can add up. For instance, Iowa allocated $10.6 million last year. Others include Illinois at $9.2 million, Missouri at $11.5 million, Nebraska at $15.3 million, Texas at $42 million and California at $38.6…

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