The U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces $300,000 in financial and technical assistance for Cook County agricultural producers!

Learn about eligible projects and receive one-on-one application assistance at an informational workshop on Wednesday, January 25th, 9am-12pm. The training is free, open to the public, and organized by the USDA-NRCS, Advocates for Urban Agriculture, and the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development. Click here to register for this workshop.

Funding is through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and designated for urban agricultural producers who address natural resource concerns. In 2016, participants received funding to implement three practices: hoop houses, conservation cover, and cover crops. Historically disadvantaged and beginning farmers may be eligible for increased payments.

January 25th, 2017 USDA-NRCS Workshop Schedule:

  • 9am-9:30am: Joint presentation from NRCS and the USDA Farm Service Agency
  • 9:30am-12: Tables for one-on-one with prospective applicants to answer questions on: 1) farm tract number, 2) ownership documents for the application (i.e. how to get a copy of your land deed), 3) eligible projects and anticipated expenses

There are no pre-requisites to attending. USDA-NRCS encourages interested urban ag producers to submit a NRCS-CPA-1200 form before the next enrollment period ends on January 20th, however it is not required. Contact your local NRCS Service Center to submit an application. NRCS will work with you to develop a conservation plan after the application is submitted. Visit the NRCS website for more information on their programs.

Workshop location: The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, 233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 800, inside the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). It is highly accessible by public transportation. Please allow 10-15 minutes to pass through security and bring a valid state ID.

About the program: The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, or improved or created wildlife habitat.

Click here to register for this free workshop.

About the organizers:

– Advocates for Urban Agriculture (AUA) is a coalition of individuals, organizations and businesses working to support and expand sustainable agriculture in the Chicago area, from home- and community-based growing to market gardens and small farms.

– NRCS helps America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners 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.

– The City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is its principal planning agency and promotes the comprehensive growth and sustainability of the City and its neighborhoods.