Farmers, ranchers and non-industrial forestland owners that suffered damage due to Hurricane Irma will have until Dec. 15 to apply for a special statewide incentives program.
EQIP is available to help these producers treat crop, grazing and forest land damages caused by high winds, rainfall and floodwaters directly related to Hurricane Irma.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was announced this week by State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Conservation Service.
All 159 counties in Georgia are eligible for this special signup, but high priority will be given to the seven counties hardest hit as determined by FEMA. These high priority counties are Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Coffee, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh.
"NRCS in Georgia has been working with our sister agencies over the last few months to ensure the public is aware of and receiving any eligible assistance USDA has to offer," said Rudolph. "This special sign up is another example of our commitment to help those affected by natural disasters. If someone is just now hearing about our assistance or realizing the damages that Hurricane Irma has caused, please let us help you help your land."
Producers with Irma-related damages can visit their local USDA Service Center and submit a Conservation Program Application (NRCS-CPA-1200) before the deadline, or as soon as possible to expedite any necessary damage assessments.
If they already have an application submitted through recent sign-ups, they should contact their local office to ensure it is included in this special funding cycle.
Farmers and ranchers seeking NRCS financial and technical assistance can also sign up for EQIP if already a USDA client, online via Conservation Client Gateway (CCG). Conservation practices available through this EQIP funding are specifically designed to address flood and wind damage, and excessive runoff to address natural resource concerns caused by the hurricane and provide future protection from exceptional storm events.
EQIP was originally established under the 1996 Farm Bill and reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. It provides technical and financial assistance to landowners to voluntarily address soil, water and other natural resource concerns on private lands.
More information on NRCS conservation programs can be found at www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov under the Programs tab.