James E. Tillman, Sr., State Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia has announced a sign-up for specific initiatives under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Applications are due by Feb. 15.

Danny Hogan, president, Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors said “We appreciate the flexibility NRCS has shown in addressing Georgia’s changing needs. I encourage producers to take advantage of voluntary conservation programs such as these”

EQIP is a voluntary program that funds conservation practices based on state identified natural resource concerns. The specific initiatives being funded under this sign-up are; on-farm energy, seasonal high tunnels, organic operations and longleaf pine.

Some of the benefits of these special initiatives through EQIP offered by the NRCS, include:

• On-Farm Energy Initiative: helps producers conserve energy on their operations.

• Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative: helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season into the cold months, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature and conserve water and energy.

• Organic Initiative: helps producers to install conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.

• Longleaf Pine Initiative: helps producers in the implementation of conservation practices including planting longleaf pine, installing firebreaks, conducting prescribed burning and controlling invasive plants.

“The Environmental Quality Incentives Program offers farmers, ranchers and forestland managers a variety of options to conserve natural resources while boosting production on their lands,” Tillman said.

“This financial assistance for conservation investment helps improve environmental health and the economy of Georgia’s rural communities.”

Interested producers should visit their local NRCS office for information on this sign-up period. Applications are taken on a continuous basis, but only those applications received by the cutoff will be considered for this sign-up.

To participate in EQIP, an applicant must be an individual, entity or joint operation that meets EQIP eligibility criteria.

For more information about EQIP or other technical or financial assistance programs offered by NRCS, please contact your local service center: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs.