December 18, 2020 Lansing, MI (AMN) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced that financial assistance is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for farmers and family forest owners interested in implementing conservation practices. Funds can be used for many conservation practices including forest management plans, tree and shrub establishment, and forest stand improvement. Landowners can qualify for certain Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development programs, such as the Qualified Forest Program and Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program, by taking advantage of this financial assistance opportunity.
Forest management plans funded through EQIP meet the requirements to enroll in MDARD’s Qualified Forest Program. Qualified Forest Program participants receive a property tax exemption on their forested parcel in exchange for implementing a forest management plan to improve wildlife habitat and create healthy forests. To get started on your forest management plan, contact your local conservation district (www.macd.org). In many areas of the state, conservation district foresters are available to help navigate this process and connect landowners with credentialed service providers.
Applications for EQIP must be submitted to NRCS by January 22, 2021, and applicants are selected for funding on a competitive basis. NRCS provides a higher level of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. More information about EQIP and how to apply can be found at your local NRCS office or online at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.
For more information on the Qualified Forest Program, visit www.michigan.gov/qfp.