Prime Time to Plan, Enroll in USDA Conservation Programs
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has received notification from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that a period is underway for agricultural and non-industrial private forestland program to apply for technical and financial assistance. The assistance is available through two USDA conservation programs.
With crop harvesting winding down and haying operations at a lull, now is a good time to plan future improvements to farm operations and wildlife habitat. Many land practices can improve farm efficiency, profitability, and wildlife habitat while benefiting water quality, reducing soil erosion, and improving soil health and forestlands.
The USDA and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), has set Friday Dec. 20, 2013 as the cutoff date for their first fiscal year evaluation and funding consideration for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP). Funding is limited, and only projects that are “ready to implement” will be ranked for funding consideration.
The TWRA has four private lands biologists that work out of NRCS offices and will develop wildlife habitat plans for landowners and guide them through the USDA application process. Once plans are accepted in programs, the biologists will also provide advice to help the participants successfully implement their habitat practices. Their assistance is also available to landowners that do not desire to participate in USDA programs.
Contact information for the TWRA biologists, USDA offices, and information on USDA programs can be found at www.twraprivatelands.org , by contacting their local USDA Service Center, or by calling the TWRA Wildlife and Forestry Division at (615) 781-6610.