Did you know that there is a government agency in place that exists to help save—and even give you money for your farm?
We sat down with Jose Pagan from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to give you the insider tips on how this service can not only help you find ways to save money on your farm (like energy and water), but even receive money for projects through their cost-share programs (from 75 to 90% of the cost!).
As Jose states in the video, the USDA NRCS’s main objective is “to help people help the land.” The conservation agency offers both financial and technical assistance, doing everything they can to protect the five natural resources of soil, water, air, plants and animals.
Two main categories of voluntary programs offered by the USDA NRCS are:
EQIP is the primary program, and then CSP takes conservation to the next level. As Jose explains, CSP is for farmers who have already completed a number of conservation projects and are seeking to build on them.
Within EQIP and CSP, popular conservation practices for poultry farmers include those related to animal waste management, mortality, water management, stackhouses and energy.
How to Apply for Cost-Share Programs:
- Go to your local USDA service center to get an account number. NRCS’s sister agency, the Farm Service Agency, will set this up for you. *Required documents to bring: plat sheet and deed of land (or lease agreement)
- Meet with a representative at your local NRCS office to discuss programs and APPLY!
Important note to keep in mind when applying: USDA places the highest value on practices that make the largest positive environmental impact. The good news for you as a poultry farmer is that animal waste management and energy conservation are very high priorities!
To increase your chances for being selected to receive funding, Jose advises farmers to “look at the resource concerns that are around and try to hit as many as you can.”
Farmers who participate in the programs receive funding for up to 75% of the project cost. Beginner farmers (farming less than 10 years), minority farmers, and veterans can get up to 90% of the project covered by the USDA NRCS.
Jose has seen farms working on updating energy efficiency receive $80,000–$90,000+ depending on the operation size. It’s a win-win! You get money to help the environment and by doing so, you save money in the long run.
If you have any questions about NRCS programs, would like me to connect you to Jose, or simply want to learn more, give me a call anytime at 706-424-4471.
USDA Farmers.gov website: https://www.farmers.gov/
USDA NRCS website: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/national/home/