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Minnesota farmers have until Jan. 18 to apply for several USDA programs

Minnesota farmers must apply at local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices by Jan 18, 2013 to be considered for the first round of funding selections for the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), National Organic Initiative, National On-Farm Energy Initiative, National Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative, National Water Quality Initiative, Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI), Drift less Area Landscape Conservation Initiative (DALCI), and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

Through AWEP and the National EQIP Initiatives, NRCS offers financial assistance to install conservation practices. Conservation practices include, but are not limited to, cover crop, grassed waterways, nutrient management, terraces, waste storage facility, grade stabilization structures, conservation cover, wetland restoration, streambank and shoreline protection.

Myron Taylor, NRCS assistant state conservationist for programs in Minnesota, says completing NRCS applications early is important. "Conservation plans must be completed before an NRCS contract is developed, he said. "That's why it's important for farmers to get into NRCS offices early to get their plans and applications completed."

NRCS in Minnesota has established a total of four application acceptance deadlines. Those include: January 18, 2013; February 15, 2013; March 15, 2013 and April 19, 2013.

For more information or to apply for NRCS programs, contact your local USDA Service Center at 212 ½ Second Street West in Park Rapids. Please call 218-732-9723 x3 for an appointment