Historically underserved producers in Arkansas’s 48 StrikeForce counties have until May 16 to submit applications to be considered for financial assistance to implement conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the 2014 program year. Applicants can sign up at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field service center.
“Historically underserved” refers to groups that have not participated in or that in the past have received limited benefits from USDA programs. These are: beginning and limited resource farmers; Indian tribes; veterans; and socially disadvantaged producers (African-Americans, American Indians, Alaskan natives, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders).
The StrikeForce Initiative in Arkansas is addressing conservation needs in high-poverty counties by accelerating USDA assistance. USDA recently announced an expansion of the StrikeForce Initiative from 25 to 48 counties in Arkansas. Arkansas’s StrikeForce Initiative counties are:
Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Clark, Clay, Columbia, Conway, Craighead, Crittenden, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Franklin, Fulton, Hempstead, Howard, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Madison, Miller, Mississippi, Monroe, Montgomery, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Phillips, Poinsett, Polk, Randolph, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sevier, Sharp, Stone, St. Francis, Union, Van Buren, and Woodruff.
The EQIP StrikeForce Initiative is a voluntary program that provides financial assistance for implementing conservation practices to address state identified natural resource concerns, such as plant condition, soil condition, soil erosion, water quantity, water quality and wildlife. Applications must meet program eligibility by May 30, 2014, to be evaluated for funding based on state developed criteria for improving environmental benefits. Funding categories have been established for traditional agricultural producers and alternative crop producers. The highest ranking applications in the funding categories will be selected for funding by June 24, 2014, subject to availability.
Landowners wanting more information about the USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative should contact their local USDA Service Center or contact Charlie Williams, USDA StrikeForce leader, at 870-814-3052 or firstname.lastname@example.org.