Programs offered by agencies offer benefits to producers and the environment

If you’ve ever considered applying for an agriculture-related financial assistance program, chances are that you have run across some programs from the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

The NRCS offers several farmer-friendly financial assistance and incentive programs that have benefits for the farmer, the community and the environment.

“The flagship financial assistance programs of the NRCS are the Environmental Quality Incentive Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program,” said Curt McDaniel, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist – Programs.

He added that these are two of the most heavily utilized programs in the NRCS. According to the NRCS website, the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (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.”

Some popular practices implemented by producers working with the NRCS through the EQIP program include cover crops, irrigation and prescribed grazing.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps 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.

There are three main benefits to participating in a financial assistance program such as EQIP or CSP, McDaniel explained.

One benefit is that the producer gets protection of the natural resources on their farm or ranch – which is quite a large benefit indeed, considering that the natural resources we have are the only ones we have.

The second benefit is that the producer will hopefully see an increase in production from properly implemented practices through NRCS financial assistance programs.

The third benefit from participating in these programs is a little broader.

“Society gets an environmental benefit,” McDaniel said. “And these programs are also beneficial to rural communities.”

When producers utilize the financial assistance they receive from the NRCS, they are purchasing supplies from their local communities and making every dollar count, while also making production practice choices that help safeguard not just their natural resources, but their neighbors as well.

The NRCS takes applications to their financial assistance programs year-round.

“There’s never a bad time,” McDaniel said. The best way to get the application process started for one of these programs is to visit your local USDA field office.

“We always encourage people to stop in and visit,” McDaniel said.

Oklahoma NRCS Offices

Adair County • Stilwell, Okla • (918) 696-7612

Cherokee County • Tahlequah, Okla. • (918) 456-1924

Craig County • Vinita, Okla. • (918) 256-6882

Delaware County • Jay, Okla. • (918) 253-4513

Le Flore County • Poteau, Okla. • (918) 647-4800

Mayes County • Pryor, Okla. • (918) 825-3673

Muskogee County • Muskogee, Okla. • (918) 682-8831

Rogers County • Claremore, Okla. • (918) 341-3276

Sequoyah County • Sallisaw, Okla. • (918) 775-6577

Tulsa County • Tulsa, Okla. • (918) 280-1596

Wagoner County • Wagoner, Okla. • (918) 485-4747

Arkansas NRCS Offices

Baxter County • Mountain Home, Ark. • (870) 425-3527

Benton County • Bentonville, Ark. • (479) 273-2622

Boone County • Harrison, Ark. • (870) 741-8600

Carroll County • Berryville, Ark. • (870) 423-2638

Cleburne County • Heber Springs, Ark. • (501) 362-2628

Crawford County • Serviced by Fort Smith, Ark., Office • (501) 474-2281

Faulkner County • Conway, Ark. • (501) 327-6509

Franklin County • Ozark, Ark. • (479) 667-8600

Fulton County • Salem, Ark. • (870) 895-3201

Johnson County • Clarksville, Ark. • (479) 754-2800

Logan County • Paris, Ark. • (479) 963-2612

Madison County • Huntsville, Ark. • (479) 738-6321

Marion County • Serviced by Mountain Home, Ark. Office • (870) 449-6356

Monroe County • Clarendon, Ark. • (870) 747-3431

Newton County • Serviced by Harrison, Ark. Office • (870) 446-2236

Pope County • Russellville, Ark. • (479) 968-3881

Searcy County • Marshall, Ark. • (870) 448-3184

Sebastian County • Fort Smith, Ark. • (479) 646-8300

Stone County • Mountain View, Ark. • (870) 269-3726

Van Buren County • Clinton, Ark. • (501) 745-5161

Washington County • Fayetteville, Ark. • (479) 442-4160

White County • Searcy, Ark. • (501) 268-5866


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