The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has set the application deadline for fiscal year 2011 farm bill conservation programs funding at Nov. 12, 2010. The deadline includes all California Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) initiatives except the EQIP Organic Initiative. The EQIP Organic Initiative sign-up deadline will be provided at a later date.

NRCS’s EQIP program initiatives eligible for this sign-up include, but are not limited to:

Water Quality—Animal Feeding Operations (AFO)

Water Conservation/Drought Response

Wildlife Habitat Improvements

California Air Quality

Grazing Lands Management

Forest Lands Management

To date in 2010, California NRCS has obligated over $74 million in EQIP funds for over 5,600 contracts and 821,000 acres statewide. However, the number of applications received this past year far exceeds the amount of funding available. NRCS is anticipating similar funding for 2011. Farmers and ranchers are encouraged to start their application process as soon as possible to ensure consideration for this funding cycle.

NRCS invites landowners to apply before the Nov. 12 deadline by visiting a local NRCS office or USDA Service Center. Use the USDA’s Service Center Locator to access driving directions and contact information for the Service Centers nearest you.