New Activity Plan 128 replaces 122 and 124 On-Farm Energy Assessments; Available through NRCS, USDA
On August 28, 2014, Technical Service Provider (TSP), Bruce Everly, attended the USDA’s training on new Conservation Activity Plan 128. The new Activity Plan, available October 1, 2014, will include the examination of what was previously in energy practice 122 and the landscape practice 124. Activity Plan 128 will identify ways to reduce your farm’s diesel, propane or electric bills. Revisions were made to make reports more useful and understandable for farmers.
The 2014 Farm Bill, enacted on February 7, 2014 made these voluntary conservation programs that benefit both the agricultural producer and the environment, available through the USDA NRCS office. For example, NRCS funds are available to have a TSP, such as EIM’s General Manager Bruce Everly, do an on-farm assessment and report related to your farm’s energy usage and how to improve it.
What do you need to do to participate? 1.) Apply for NRCS’s Activity Plan 128; 2.) If approved, schedule Bruce to visit your farm. NRCS can pay Bruce directly for the visit so there is no cost to you; 3.) Once the assessment identifies areas of need, Bruce can advise you regarding REAP or EQIP grant applications, which can fund up to ¼ or ¾ of eligible costs respectively.
For water usage, the USDA will fund a survey (known as Activity Plan 118) to study your existing or proposed irrigation system and make recommendations. Projects that typically receive funding are for building ponds, establishment of wells and running pipe. Standards and competition are tough but funding levels often exceed 75% of the project’s costs.