Comment to U.S. Department of Agriculture on Environmental Quality Incentives Program Interim Final Rule
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) has enormous potential to support agricultural practices that protect the public’s health and the environment. In this written comment, CLF researchers express concern about the potential negative public health implications that could result from adopting the EQIP Interim Final Rule as it contains loopholes that support Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). CLF researchers also make three recommendations for the EQIP Final Rule. Those include that the Natural Resources Conservation Service must not allocate EQIP funding towards larger projects for fewer producers, but instead reward creative conservation practices for small and mid-sized producers that build soil health and support agricultural resilience. In addition, EQIP funding that supports CAFO operations should, at minimum, require progressive implementation of nutrient management plans. EQIP is a valuable resource for producers to establish necessary conservation projects and CLF researchers believe the program should be accessible for farmers who are making true contributions to protect the environment and the public’s health.