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USDA Releases Environmental Quality Incentives Program Final Rule

USDA has published the final rule for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program update as directed by the 2018 Farm Bill. The changes incorporated in the final rule include higher payment caps for producers participating in the Organic Initiative, advance payments for historically underserved producers, and new language specifically including soil health and weather and drought resilience in the national priorities. In addition, the Conservation Innovation Grants program was changed to include field research and lower matching funds requirements for historically underserved producers. Also, the Conservation Innovation Grants program now includes opportunities for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials and Soil Health Demonstration Trials.