The USDA‘s NRCS  Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to plan and implement conservation practices that improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related natural resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. EQIP may also help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations.

Since 2009, USDA NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) has helped California’s farmers replace more than 3,000 pieces of old, polluting farm equipment through EQIP.  The emissions reductions from these replacements is the equivalent of having removed approximately one million cars from California’s roads.  Through collaborative efforts with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the California Air Resources Board, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the voluntary emission reductions achieved are helping meet local goals and objectives that are improving air quality.  EQIP funding goes far beyond air pollution reduction, however.

For eligible growers, EQIP funds conservation practices such as:

  • replacing old diesel powered equipment with newer equipment (includes irrigation equipment)
  • treating unpaved farm roads to limit dust
  • adopting conservation tillage practices for annually tilled crops
  • chip orchard/vineyard removals
  • safely disposing of chemically-treated wooden stakes
  • using “low-dust” harvesting equipment

For more information, contact your local NRCS office. To be considered for the next round of funding (funding happens in batches throughout the year), an applicant must be eligible with the Farm Service Agency, have submitted an application, and had a planning visit with a planner/engineer. Applications are accepted year-round.
First, you should think about conservation practices you wish to implement on your farm.  Then, schedule a meeting with your local USDA NRCS District Conservationist.  Click HERE for a listing of NRCS office locations.

The Lodi Winegrape Commission is planning an informational EQIP workshop with Ora Van Steyn from the Stockton NRCS office for the fall.

Already practice conservation on your own or as part of the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing Program?  You may qualify for the Conservation Stewardship Program, which provides funding to help you continue your current conservation practices while improving in another conservation area.

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