EQIP Program funds

Forwarded message:

Subject:       EQIP news release 

                                              Release No. 0079.97

                               Jim Petterson (202) 720-4623
                               Diana Morse   (202) 720-4772


RALEIGH, N.C., March 10, 1997--Agriculture Secretary Dan
Glickman today announced preliminary state funding allocations
for USDA's new $200 million Environmental Quality Incentives 
Program (EQIP) that will help farmers and ranchers address 
agriculture's priority natural resource and environmental problems.

"The new EQIP program is part of the Clinton Administration's
commitment to providing farmers and ranchers with flexible,
effective and voluntary conservation programs," Glickman said.  
"The EQIP will be one of our key tools to help producers protect
natural resources and ensure the sustainability of our food supply."

Producers will be able to sign EQIP contracts when the final
rules and regulations for the program are published in the Federal
Register, expected in April.  In the meantime, producers may 
contact local USDA Service Centers and the Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS) for information on possible eligibility
for EQIP. Producers also can work with NRCS to develop their own
conservation plans which are required for any EQIP contract.

EQIP will be delivered primarily to state priority areas.  Under
EQIP, state priority areas are watersheds, or geographic regions
with special environmental sensitivity or  significant soil, water,
or related natural resource concerns.  Each state's priority areas
were locally-determined by the NRCS state conservationist, in
conjunction with state technical committees and USDA Farm 
Service Agency personnel.  

To determine state funding allocations, another USDA team
developed an objective rating system based on 26 national
environmental factors.  These factors addressed a wide range of
natural resource conditions, such as soil erosion and deposition,
water quality and quantity, wildlife habitat, wetlands, grazing
lands, and other concerns.

Under EQIP, USDA can provide cost-share assistance to
family-sized farms and ranches for up to 75 percent of the costs of
certain environmental protection practices, such as grassed
waterways, filter strips, manure management facilities, capping
abandoned wells, and wildlife habitat enhancement.  USDA also
may provide incentive payments to encourage producers to apply
such land management practices as nutrient, manure, irrigation
water, wildlife, and integrated pest management.

Approximately $170 million is involved in today's announcement. 
The remaining $30 million will be allocated to the states when their
final needs for technical, financial, and educational assistance are
determined.  In some cases, only technical assistance may be 
needed because financial assistance is already available through
state programs.

EQIP is a new USDA program under the 1996 Farm Bill.  It provides
technical, financial, and educational assistance to farmers and
ranchers to address significant natural resource concerns and
objectives.  EQIP replaces four previous programs:  the Agricultural
Conservation Program, Water Quality Incentives Program, Great
Plains Conservation Program, and the Colorado River Basin Salinity
Control Program.

EQIP will be unveiled in conjunction with the Department's other
conservation programs like the Conservation Reserve Program, the
Wetlands Reserve Program, and the Wildlife Habitat Incentives
Program, to provide complete solutions to agriculture's
environmental challenges.

Initial state funding levels for EQIP program assistance announced
by the Secretary are as follows:

              Environmental Quality Incentives Program
              Initial Fiscal Year 1997 Funds Distribution

     State                                 Initial Amount

     Alabama                                  $3,700,000
     Alaska                                         150,000
     Arizona                                      2,000,000
     Arkansas                                   5,200,000
     California                                   4,950,000
     Colorado                                    5,650,000
     Connecticut                                  500,000
     Delaware                                      650,000
     Florida                                       3,250,000
     Georgia                                      4,050,000
     Hawaii                                          500,000
     Idaho                                         2,900,000
     Illinois                                        4,850,000
     Indiana                                       2,550,000
     Iowa                                           4,850,000
     Kansas                                       6,650,000
     Kentucky                                     3,100,000
     Louisiana                                     4,850,000
     Maine                                          2,400,000
     Maryland                                      1,350,000
     Massachusetts                                450,000
     Michigan                                      4,200,000
     Minnesota                                    5,850,000
     Mississippi                                   4,300,000
     Missouri                                       5,100,000
     Montana                                       6,350,000
     Nebraska                                      5,250,000
     Nevada                                            900,000
     New Hampshire                                500,000
     New Jersey                                      600,000
     New Mexico                                  2,650,000
     New York                                      3,450,000
     North Carolina                                3,900,000
     North Dakota                                  4,200,000
     Ohio                                              3,050,000
     Oklahoma                                      4,300,000
     Oregon                                          3,550,000
     Pennsylvania                                 3,400,000
     Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands              350,000
     Rhode Island                                    250,000
     South Carolina                               2,550,000
     South Dakota                                 4,100,000
     Tennessee                                     2,750,000
     Texas                                          13,700,000
     Utah                                              3,150,000
     Vermont                                         1,100,000
     Virginia                                           3,000,000
     Washington                                    3,550,000
     West Virginia                                  1,700,000
     Wisconsin                                      4,200,000
     Wyoming                                        2,750,000
     Pacific Basin                                     200,000

     US Total Distributed                   $169,450,000

     Not Yet Distributed   1/                 30,550,000

     EQIP US Total                          $200,000,000

1/  Note:  The funds will be allocated to the states when their final
  needs for technical, financial, and educational assistance are


Ralph A. Otto
Deputy Administrator
USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
Natural Resources and Environment
Stop 2210, 1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250-2210
Voice phone: (202) 401-5877
FAX phone  : (202) 401-1706