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New EQIP Air Quality Initiative available for Pennsylvania farmers


January 13, 2009
By Pennsylvania Natural Resources Conservation Service

January 13, 2009, Harrisburg, Pa. – Natural Resources Conservation
Service’s State Conservationist, Craig Derickson, recently announced a
new Air Quality Initiative for Pennsylvania under the fiscal year 2009
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

January 13, 2009, Harrisburg, Pa. – Pennsylvania Natural Resources Conservation Service’s state conservationist, Craig Derickson, recently announced a new Air Quality Initiative for Pennsylvania under the fiscal year 2009 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

“Even though program rules are still being finalized, we are urging eligible farmers to apply as soon as possible,” said Derickson. “By accepting EQIP applications now, we can develop conservation plans that address important air quality concerns and be well positioned to provide contracts to producers in the next few weeks.”

The EQIP Air Quality Initiative provides both technical and financial assistance to farmers interested in improving the air quality of their operation. The financial assistance can include incentive payments for management activities and cost-share for the installation of certain conservation practices.

Pennsylvania NRCS will offer up to $2.4 million in fiscal year 2009 for participants to implement practices that control emissions that contribute to harmful PM 2.5 and surface ozone levels in the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Chester, Clearfield, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Montgomery, Washington, Westmoreland, and York. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality monitoring, these counties currently exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) and 8-hour surface ozone (03) levels.

Pennsylvania NRCS has identified the following priority Field Office Training Guide (FOTG) conservation practices and activities for the 2009 Pennsylvania EQIP Air Quality Initiative: Residue Management, No Till, Mulch Till, Manure Injection, Earlier Cover Crop Seeding, Windbreak Establishment around livestock and poultry facilities, Feed Management, Bio-filters, Waste Treatments, Waste Facility Covers, Anaerobic Digesters, Manure Separators, Manure Amendment, and Composting Facilities. Farmers who wish to test an innovative practice not yet in general use can apply to NRCS’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) Program, which is to be announced later this spring.

To apply, producers should first contact an NRCS office located at a local USDA Service Center. Offices can be found at: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/.

Applications are accepted by Pennsylvania NRCS on a continuous basis throughout the year to evaluate, rank, prioritize and select applicants. There is no due date to apply; however, applications received early will be given preference for funding by the anticipated mid-March cut-off date. Applications will be evaluated on a monthly basis and approvals made on a regular basis as long as funds remain available. Applications that cannot be funded because of a shortage of funds or lower priority can be retained for up to two years, after which time the producer will need to re-apply.

The application and information about EQIP for fiscal year 2009 are available on the Pennsylvania NRCS web site at www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.


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