The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Arizona is accepting applications until Oct.1 for its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).

NRCS will review the applications received by Oct. 1 date and rank the applications for fiscal year 2011 funding. 

“The Oct. 1 deadline is simply so we set a time to review and rank applications for funding,” said David McKay, Arizona NRCS state conservationist.

More than $16.5 million was allocated in Arizona for EQIP for fiscal year 2010. WHIP was not used much in 2010 with the 2008 farm bill restricting use on public lands.

“With the amount of Tribal land in Arizona, I highly encourage Tribal governments and Tribal land permit-holders to inquire about WHIP,” McKay said.   

NRCS Arizona helped farmers and ranchers with a broad spectrum of natural resource enhancements in 2010, including increasing irrigation efficiency, nutrient and manure management on dairies, grazing land management, wildlife habitat, and forest management.

Funding was used on infrastructure items including underground drip irrigation and livestock watering systems, plus incentive payments for proper management to achieve environmental benefits.

Agricultural producers are encouraged to apply throughout the year for EQIP, WHIP, and other farm bill programs administered by NRCS.

Organic farmers can take advantage of a special EQIP program for use only with certified organic growers and those wanting to transition to organic production.

The 2008 farm bill also authorized a special program to help agriculture producers with air quality concerns.

For more Arizona NRCS information, visit www.az.nrcs.usda.gov.

NRCS in California has the same EQIP and WHIP opportunities as Arizona. California’s application deadline for FY 2011 funding is Nov. 12.

For information on California NRCS programs, visit www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov