The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) — the primary environmental assistance program for agriculture — has done little for pork producers, charges the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

Pork producers strongly supported the increased funding for EQIP that was included in the 2002 Farm Bill, and looked forward to using EQIP to help them adopt more environmental practices, says NPPC Environmental Committee Chairman Randy Spronk.

Despite that increase, “EQIP has made only a minimal contribution to pork producers' environmental efforts,” the Edgerton, MN, producer told the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in early June. “We think EQIP is missing a tremendous opportunity to have a dramatic effect on the environment by failing to work with producers who are ready to take their (environmental) performance to the next level.”

In 2003-2005, pork producers received just 3% of the EQIP cost-share assistance provided to all livestock producers, or $43 million of the $1.26 billion allocated.

NPPC is preparing a detailed review of EQIP's shortcomings.