Editor’s Note: Noble County Farm Bureau is pleased to share an update from Extension Educator Christine Gelley.
It has been three months since my last constructed formal newsletter. Change has certainly been a constant throughout the year and the same is still true day to day now. The programs included in the newsletter have changed forms multiple times in the planning process and may even change again before they occur. Please know that we are doing our very best to provide access to all Noble County residents and landowners and we recognize that the virtual programming we continue to offer is challenging for many to engage with. We still welcome interactions through telephones and the U.S. Postal Service. If there is a way that we can adapt virtual resources to reach a greater audience, we are happy to do so on an individual basis, and distribute those resources in the best format for the recipient.
A couple announcements that are not included in the newsletter:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, as the deadline to submit applications for Ohio’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program which helps producers make conservation work for them. NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices. Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations. Through EQIP, you can voluntarily implement conservation practices, and NRCS co-invests in these practices with you. Together, NRCS and producers invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations.
Financial assistance is now available in a variety of agricultural categories such as cropland, pasture operations, and organic. Several special projects are also available which address water quality, forestry management, improving pollinator populations and wildlife habitat, pasture improvements and many more.
Applicants should be farmers, or farm or forest landowners and meet eligibility criteria. To participate in USDA conservation programs, contact your local NRCS conservationist as soon as possible. Be sure to check the status of your Service Center when you reach out. For offices with restrictions on in-person appointments, they are still available by phone, email and through other digital tools. Your Service Center’s status is available at https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status.
Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the Jan. 15 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2021 funding. Visit Ohio NRCS website under “EQIP Funding Categories” for more details. To learn more about EQIP or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact your local USDA Service Center at 1300 Clark St. Unit 10, Cambridge, OH 43725, or by phone at 740-421-3370.
Currently statewide, all county extension offices will be physically closed and in-person services postponed until Jan. 4, 2021. All staff will observe telework arrangements during this time. We will continue to be available by phone, email, and video conference with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and personal scheduled vacation time. There are many virtual programs coming up that would be of local benefit and I hope you will consider joining. Details are included in the the December newsletter. If you know of a family member or friend who would enjoy these programs but is unfamiliar with Zoom on a smart device or computer, I suggest offering them a tutorial as a gift. It is a gift that will keep on giving throughout the winter and beyond. I certainly would enjoy seeing your friendly faces and hearing your voices over a virtual program this winter.
The December Newsletter available.
From my family to yours, I send you wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!
Christine Gelley, M.S. Extension educator, agriculture & natural resources
Noble County Extension
46049 Marietta Rd., Suite 2, Caldwell, OH 43724
740-732-5681 Office / 740-305-3173 Direct Line