2014 Farm Bill
The 2014 Farm Bill has streamlined conservation programs providing consolidated and expanded programs to assist farmers, and working land owners to address conservation concerns. The streamlined programs are efficiently organized and designed to improve the environment while maintaining or improving a vibrant agricultural sector. To learn more about the 2014 Farm Bill, please contact your local Conservation District and the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service office. For an overview of programs, visit the USDA-NRCS Michigan website.
Farm Bill Programs
Farm Bill programs are voluntary and provide significant opportunities for owners and managers of working lands, including forests to make positive conservation improvements on the land. It is up to each individual, with assistance from local Conservation District and USDA-NRCS employees, to determine how these programs can benefit their operation.
Applications to participate in the programs are accepted at local NRCS field offices on a continuous basis. Application cut-off dates are announced, then the submitted applications are pooled, ranked and selected for funding.
Are you interested in making improvements to the land you own or lease? The first step is contact your local Conservation District and NRCS Field Office to discuss your goals and work with staff to develop a conservation plan. Conservation District program staff and NRCS field staff will work together to provide you with free advice and technical assistance for your land. Technical assistance includes resource assessments, practice design and resource monitoring, and staff members will assist you in determining if financial assistance through the Farm Bill is the right fit for you and your land.
Learn more about working with NRCS and the five steps to assistance HERE, or connect with your local Conservation District and NRCS Field Office.
Financial Assistance, Easement and Partnership Programs
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, or improved or created wildlife habitat.
A popular program in past Farm Bills was the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP). This was a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, and Indian land. This program has been incorporated into the new EQIP. Contact your local Conservation District and NRCS Field Office for more details.
Michigan has available six specific initiatives within the EQIP Program, which address specific needs within the state:
~ Honey Bee Initiative
~ National Water Quality Initiative
~ Edge of Field Monitoring
~ On-Farm Energy Initiative
~ Organic Initiative
~ Western Lake Erie Basin
To learn about these specific initiatives available in Michigan, Click Here
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
The CSP assists agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance - the higher the performance, the higher the payment. Through CSP, participants take additional steps to improve resource condition including soil quality, water quality, water quantity, air quality, and habitat quality, as well as energy.
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
The ACEP includes former easement programs into one new program. ACEP provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land. Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
This new program is designed to address specific project areas defined by NRCS. The RCPP promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements and through program contracts or easement agreements.