JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Natural Resources Conservation Service
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Feral Swine Initiative. Interested landowners within identified priority focal areas can apply for assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This activity applies on private lands where feral swine are present and populations need to be managed or controlled to reduce/eliminate damages to natural resource concerns such as soil erosion, water quality degradation, wildlife habitat degradation, and public health/safety risk.
NRCS's role in this pilot project is limited to determining the impacts upon natural resources, developing a management plan to address the impacted resources and evaluating the effectiveness of a practice in reducing the impacted resource. NRCS will not provide assistance related to the trapping, euthanizing, or disposal of the feral swine; this role will be fulfilled by the participant, other partners or agencies assisting with this pilot project.
The specific priority areas identified in Mississippi are as follows:
· Northeast Focal Area – Clay, Lowndes, Monroe, and Noxubee Counties
· Central Focal Area – Claiborne, Copiah, Hinds, Rankin, and Simpson Counties
· Southern Focal Area – Adams, Amite, Jefferson, and Wilkinson Counties
· South Delta Focal Area – Issaquena, Sharkey, Yazoo, and Warren Counties
"The Environmental Quality Incentives Program, through the Feral Swine Initiative, offers producers a variety of options to conserve natural resources, while protecting precious habitat on their lands," State Conservationist, Kurt Readus said. "This conservation investment helps improve environmental health and the economy of Mississippi rural communities."
EQIP provides financial assistance for several conservation activities through this initiative. The main emphasis will be on the Feral Swine Conservation Management Activity which basically involves installing cameras to film the feral swine activity and determine the impacts upon natural resources in the area. NRCS financial assistance will only contribute to monitoring (labor) and surveillance (cameras) of areas occupied by feral swine in order to facilitate a participant's feral swine population management plan.
NRCS accepts applications on a continuous basis; however cutoff dates are set for ranking applications. The deadline for accepting applications for ranking under the Feral Swine Initiative is scheduled for March 20, 2015, pending available funding.
To participate in EQIP, an applicant must be an individual, entity or joint operation that meets EQIP eligibility criteria. Applicants can sign up at their local NRCS office. For more information about EQIP or other technical or financial assistance programs offered by NRCS, please contact your local USDA service center at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps America's farmers and ranchers conserve the Nation's soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.
For more information, visit our website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/ms/home/.