October 23, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eric Deeble, Policy Director
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
NRCS Releases EQIP Final Rule
Rule affirms soil health as national priority to address climate change but misses the opportunity to support small-scale sustainable producers
Washington, DC, October 23rd, 2020 – Today, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released its final rule for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). For decades, EQIP has helped farmers and ranchers improve the quality of the lands and waters they steward by providing financial help for specific projects or installations that address natural resource concerns.
While imperfect, the EQIP rule does contain a number of useful provisions that enhance the program. Several of these changes reflect recommendations submitted by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) in comments to NRCS in February 2020 upon the release of the EQIP interim final rule (IFR). Positive elements of the rule include:
While these are important improvements, there are a number of points on which the new rule represents a missed opportunity to ensure that EQIP helps small and midsize farmers and ranchers maximize their conservation benefit for generations to come. These include:
“NRCS had the opportunity to help EQIP better serve farmers and ranchers and conserve resources across the country through the comments they received,” said Eric Deeble, Policy Director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). “We appreciate that NRCS seized some of these opportunities, but we are disappointed that they passed on others, leaving us with a program that does less for our farmers and ranchers than it could.”
NSAC has long supported the goals of EQIP and will continue to advocate for a program that better matches the intent of Congress and serves the farmers who are on the leading edge of addressing the climate crisis and protecting our soil and water resources.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more: https://sustainableagriculture.net/