The USDA continues to implement the 2018 Farm Bill and released the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Interim Rule. 

The National Farmers Union is urging the agency to strengthen the conservation program to better support farmers as they work to ensure the longevity of their land and natural resources. 

Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says his group values the program and wants to make improvements to ensure its efficiency.

“We’d like to encourage the agency to include climate resilience and soil health in its list of EQIP priorities,” Johnson says. “These are two of the most critical issues facing agriculture today and farmers need all available tools and resources to address them.” 

They also recommend NRCS give each state the ability to set their high-priority practices for increased payment rates. 

Local and regional offices are the most knowledgeable about the resource concerns in their areas and should determine, when possible, how to address those concerns. 

“We also urge NRCS to prioritize farmers and ranchers when allocating EQIP funding,” Johnson adds. “We’d like funding to be available to water management entities that serve mostly farmers and ranchers.”