For the first time, Iowa’s private landowners have the opportunity to implement selected resource conserving practices on their land using a higher than normal payment rate through USDA’s Environment Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will now offer higher payment rates for 20 practices to eligible farmers statewide. In the past, the highest financial assistance rates through EQIP were reserved for Iowa’s historically underserved farmers, such as beginning farmers and veterans, and for special land targeted initiatives.

“This is a group of the most environmentally beneficial practices in treating our priority resource concerns in Iowa,” said Kurt Simon, state conservationist for NRCS. “Many of the practices were chosen due to the public benefit they provide.”

NRCS priorities in Iowa include improving water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat on private lands, says Simon. “We are committed to supporting Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy to help improve water quality in the state, as well as provide excellent technical assistance to help farmers improve soil conditions,” he said. “Many of these practices would also provide much needed wildlife habitat, which is declining across the state.”

Practices eligible for the highest EQIP payment rate in Iowa include:

  • Access Control
  • Conservation Cover
  • Conservation Crop Rotation
  • Constructed Wetland
  • Denitrifying Bioreactor
  • Drainage Water Management
  • Early Successional Habitat Development
  • Forage and Biomass Planting
  • Forest Stand Improvement
  • Prescribed Burning
  • Prescribed Grazing
  • Riparian Forest Buffer
  • Riparian Herbaceous Cover
  • Saturated Buffer
  • Stream Bank and Shoreline Protection
  • Tree or Shrub Establishment
  • Upland Wildlife Habitat Management
  • Wetland Restoration
  • Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment
  • Windbreak/Shelterbelt Renovation

To learn more about these practices and planning conservation activities on your land, contact your local NRCS office or go to www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov.