Now that the new Farm Bill has become law, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) reminds Tennessee landowners that now is the best time to signup for wildlife habitat assistance. Tennessee has received an additional $289,000 for fiscal year 2008 to help landowners who qualify for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP). This latest allocation brings the amount of WHIP funds directed to Tennessee to over a million dollars this year—a record amount for the state.
Signup for WHIP is continuous, but the initial selection of applicants for the latest funding will occur by June 30, 2008. To be considered for the new allocation, your application must be completed by that date. Applications will be reviewed and ranked, and even though additional WHIP applications could be approved after June 30, the current funds must be obligated by July 31, 2008.
Conservation program allocations are drawn from a national fund maintained in Washington, D.C. If enough Tennessee landowners don’t file applications when the funds become available, the funding is diverted to other states, so the sooner Tennessee applicants submit an application, the greater their chances of being approved.
In WHIP, District Conservationists help landowners develop a conservation plan that preserves wildlife habitat. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to landowners and others to develop or enhance upland, wetland, riparian, and aquatic habit areas on their property.
NRCS offers conservation programs for a variety of conservation needs. Along with wildlife, other resource concerns to be addressed include limiting livestock access to streams, grazing distribution, wetland restoration and protection, and erosion control.
For more information about Farm Bill conservation program eligibility and signup, visit the NRCS in Tennessee website at: http://www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov/ or contact your local District Conservationist at the nearest USDA Service Center. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.