The USDA-NRCS and Giles County Soil Conservation District offers assistance to farmers to address natural resource concerns on their lands. Assistance may be financial and/or technical. Many landowners often are just looking for information or planning assistance on farmlands in order to address erosion problems, forage management, wildlife or crop issues. This may be as simple as talking over the phone, an office visit or may involve one of our staff visiting your farm to assess your concerns and discuss options available to meet your goals. We are non-regulatory and offer confidentiality in the assistance we offer.

The financial assistance programs vary from year to year. Many years ago we had severe erosion issues throughout the state. We focused our efforts primarily on gully erosion, mine reclamation, animal waste management and cropland erosion. Those efforts were successful. Farmers that requested our help and willing to follow our technical standards for erosion issues were able to fix those sites by utilizing USDA or state funded programs through the local conservation districts and FSA/NRCS offices. It is unusual today to see actively eroding gullies on our farmlands. Most mine lands have been reclaimed, most all existing dairy and hog operations have installed some type of waste management system and cropland erosion rates are within tolerable (T) levels. Everyone benefited from this effort as our streams are more stable, there is less flooding and the cost to treat water significantly lower. Our land is more productive, our environment cleaner and farmers using conservation management systems are more profitable.

Today our focus is still tied to improving our water and soils, however we now place more emphasize on all resources including air quality, soil health in terms of carbon sequestration, production and biology, animal health, wildlife and the human aspect in terms of energy conservation, health and quality of life. The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is our primary tool to use for financial assistance. Through EQIP eligible program participants can receive financial and technical assistance. Applicants willing to adopt new or improved management strategies on their farms may receive funding to plant multiple species cover crops on cropland, install cross fencing, water systems and prescribed (multiple paddock) grazing systems on pasture, install exclusion fencing and stream buffers or chose from many other structural or management practices that are available. Financial assistance is also available to hire Technical Service Providers (NRCS certified private contractors) to develop forest management plans, conduct energy audits, or write certified nutrient management plans.

These activities address natural resource concerns on their land. Payments are made to participants after conservation practices and activities identified in an EQIP plan of operations are implemented. In Tennessee contracts can last up to three years in duration.

Agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland and Tribes are eligible to apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands. Socially disadvantaged, beginning, and limited resource farmers are eligible for an increased payment rate.

Applicants must:

  • Control or own eligible land.
  • Comply with Adjusted Gross Income limitation (AGI) provisions.
  • Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements.
  • Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations:

Starting a practice prior to written contract approval will result in the ineligibility of that practice for EQIP assistance unless a waiver has been requested and approved. Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply. 

Eligible landowners may sign up year round but the first signup period usually starts October 1 and runs through mid-December. Applications taken prior to the first cutoff period will have a higher probability of funding. Applications achieving more resource concerns and environmental benefits are more likely to receive funding. If you are interested in obtaining assistance through EQIP on your farm contact the Pulaski NRCS field Office and talk to Rusty Walker at 363-2675 x3.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

 

Giles County Soil Conservation District is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer