USDA Announces Targeted Urban Agriculture Conservation Program Sign-Up in Mississippi
Acting State Conservationist Michael Carr of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced an urban agriculture focused sign-up through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This targeted sign-up is for farmers in Biloxi (Harrison), Brandon (Rankin), Brookhaven (Lincoln), Canton (Madison), Greenville (Washington), Greenwood (Leflore), Gulfport (Harrison), Hattiesburg (Forrest), Jackson (Hinds), Natchez (Adams), Oxford (Lafayette), South Haven (Desoto), Starkville (Oktibbeha), Tupelo (Lee), and Vicksburg (Warren) counties, who are interested in producing local, healthy, sustainable food for their communities.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that helps producers make conservation work for them. NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices. “Urban farmers in Mississippi are doing some great work connecting consumers to the land that provides their food,” said Carr. “Urban conservation provides local economic and environmental benefits while providing fresh food options to communities that need them most.”
NRCS takes applications on a continuous basis, however, interested parties are encouraged to contact their local NRCS service center and apply by March 11, 2022, to be included in this application batching period. While this sign-up is limited in scope, NRCS is looking to expand urban agriculture conservation to other areas of Mississippi in the future. To begin those discussions or sign-up for a conservation program, contact your local NRCS conservationist. Be sure to check the status of your USDA Service Center when you reach out to us. For offices with restrictions on in-person appointments, we are still available by phone, email, and through other digital tools.
Through conservation programs, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to help producers and landowners make conservation improvements on their land that benefit natural resources, build resiliency, and contribute to the nation’s broader effort to combat the impacts of climate change. More broadly, these efforts build on others across USDA to encourage use of conservation practices. For example, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently provided $59.5 million in premium support for producers who planted cover crops on 12.2 million acres through the new Pandemic Cover Crop Program. Last week, RMA announced a new option for insurance coverage, the Post Application Coverage Endorsement, for producers who “split apply” fertilizer on corn.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air, and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local and Tribal governments.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.