USDA-NRCS Montana Takes a Focused Approach to Conservation in 2019

Source: NRCS Press Release

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is changing the way it does business to better identify and prioritize Montana’s natural resource concerns on private land and to better focus its technical and financial assistance.

Referred to as Montana Focused Conservation (MFC), NRCS will focus its Environmental Quality Incentives Program investments in targeted areas to achieve clearly defined natural resource goals as identified by conservation districts and other local partners through the locally led process.

For the past several years, NRCS has asked Montana agricultural producers to submit applications for general EQIP funding by June 1 each year so that applications could be ranked and landowners had time to finalize contracts and begin implementing their conservation plans. In 2019, NRCS will not set a general EQIP deadline, but will announce sign-up deadlines throughout the year for targeted projects across the state. 

For 2019, NRCS will accept applications for the EQIP projects in targeted areas across Montana until March 29, 2019. Applications received after that date will be accepted and evaluated for future rounds of funding.

Targeted Implementation Plans Approved for 2019 Funding:

Control the spread of Ventenata in Big Horn County through proper rangeland management and chemical control methods to improve rangeland health.

  • Big Horn and Yellowstone Counties – Irrigation Improvement Project

Convert less efficient irrigation systems to subsurface drip irrigation to increase irrigation efficiency, improve soil health and reduce soil compaction.

  • Broadwater County – Elkhorn Cooperative Management Area Range Health and Conifer Encroachment Treatment

Remove conifers to restore plant productivity and health, improve forest health, reestablish proper hydrologic function and reduce wildfire risk.

  • Lewis and Clark County – Hazardous Fuels Reduction

Manage unhealthy forest conditions to reduce fuel hazards, improve rangeland health by removing encroaching conifers, prevent runoff of sediment and heavy metals post fire, and control the spread of noxious weeds and undesirable plant species.

  • Lake County – Miller Coulee Water Quantity Improvement Project

Improve water quantity by reducing off-field movement of irrigation water in the Miller Coulee TIP project area.

  • Lincoln County – Edna-Fortine Creek Forest Resiliency Project

Implement forest management practices to reduce hazardous fuels around homes and structures within the wildland urban interface, improve resiliency to insects and diseases, increase wildfire preparedness, and improve overall forest health.

  • Stillwater County – Pasture Monoculture Diversification Project

Diversify a monoculture, tame pastures to a diverse mix of introduced and native plants to improve available forage, expand grazing options, and increase grazing animal carrying capacity.

For more information, contact your local NRCS district conservationist or visit the Montana NRCS website at