Updates for EQIP and WHIP signup… Deadline extended

Great News — the sign-up for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Farm Bill Conservation Programs of EQIP and WHIP for fiscal year 2009 has been extended to February 27, 2009.
EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentive Program)
For Orchard Growers this may be the final year to sign-up for the EQIP 595 Pest Management Practice that helps you transition to IPM-based management. The incentive rate is $135/Acre for 3-years of a 4-year contract. Along with the 595 practice you may also be eligible to sign-up for additional practices (see list below) which would add additional money to your overall incentive payment.
590—Nutrient Management which would include yearly soil and leaf analysis.
484—Mulching to reduce weeds and competitive plants growing under trees which reduce the need for herbicides.
327—Conservation Cover
342—Critical Area Planting
386—Field Border
725—Sinkhole Treatment
380—Wind/Shelterbelt Establishment
WHIP (Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program) and Native Pollinator Habitat Establishment
If you are interested in establishing native pollinator habitat in or around your orchard or farm, please sign-up for 386 Field Border establishment through WHIP. The incentive payment for this practice is $350/Acre to establish and manage the appropriate plants to conserve and create native pollinator habitats. Please see the NRCS website for more practices that relate to wildlife habitat: http://www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/whip09cookbook.doc. Wisconsin’s WHIP program for FY2009 has $630,000.
Growers more likely to be awarded EQIP Contracts this year
Wiscsonsin was awarded extra monies last year (FY08) for EQIP — therefore, NRCS does not have a backlog of applications for EQIP contracts. What this means is — if you sign-up for an EQIP Practice and your farm is eligible for an EQIP contract — the chances are great that you will be awarded a contract. So do not delay and sign-up today for EQIP and/or WHIP.

If you have any questions regarding EQIP or WHIP, either contact your county NRCS office: http://www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/office_search.html or Regina Hirsch at UW-CIAS at 608-265-3637 (office) or 608-335-7755 (cell) or email: regina.hirsch@sbcglobal.net