I was surprised Tuesday when I received an email from Tom Steger at the USDA NRCS office in Goodhue County that all USDA NRCS offices are still open, even with the partial Government shutdown. Remember all County FSA offices closed on December 28, 2018. They ran out of money in their budget. However, NRCS offices still have money left in their budgets so they can still remain open. Hopefully Congress and President Trump can come to a budget agreement before the NRCS runs out of money in their Budget!

Tom also wanted to get the word out to farmers and landowners that applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP) are accepted year-round, but Friday January 18, 2018 is the application cutoff for a landowner to submit a signed application for Fiscal Year 2019 funding consideration. Signed applications will be ranked, and contracts awarded until the funding runs out for the fiscal year. Applications with higher quality and quantity of proposed conservation and environmental benefits receive higher scores. The highest ranking applications are funded first.