Farmers and landowners in the 25 Arkansas StrikeForce counties have until Jan. 18, 2013, to submit applications to receive cost-share assistance to implement conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the 2013 program year. Applicants can sign up at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field service center.

The Arkansas StrikeForce Initiative is designed to help relieve persistent poverty in high poverty counties by accelerating USDA assistance while working closely with Community Based Organizations.  The StrikeForce Initiative counties are: Arkansas, Bradley, Chicot, Clark, Colombia, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Hempstead, Howard, Jackson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Nevada, Newton, Ouachita, Phillips, Randolph, Searcy, Sevier, St. Francis, and Woodruff.

The EQIP StrikeForce Initiative is a voluntary program that funds conservation practices based on state identified natural resource concerns, such as forestry, grazing, soil erosion, water conservation, and water quality.  There are approximately 60 EQIP conservation practices including, but not limited to: pasture and hayland planting, heavy use areas, waste storage facilities, pest management, tree planting, organic crop assistance, and wildlife habitat management.  This list will vary based on locally prioritized conservation practices.

Landowners wanting more information about the USDA’s StrikeForce Initiative should contact their local USDA Service Center listed in the phonebook under U.S. Government, or contact Charlie Williams, USDA StrikeForce leader, at (870) 814-3052 or e-mail