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Precision Farming Incentive

Signup for this program is continuous. Please check with your local NRCS office for specific batching dates.

The EQIP Precision Farming Incentive is designed to encourage the adoption of variable-rate application of nutrients and pesticides and promote the use of GPS-enabled precision agricultural technology and equipment within the nutrient management (590) and pest management (595) practice standards. 

Goals

  • Improving water quality by targeting nutrient and pesticide applications to meet field specific yield capabilities
  • Improving water quality by reducing pesticide inputs through avoidance of overlapping and over-application at end-/ turn-rows
  • Reducing surface runoff and leaching of pesticides through decreased inputs
  • Energy conservation through improved field efficiency and more accurate placement of crop inputs resulting in fewer passes across fields and decreased fuel use, and
  • Enhancing soil quality through repeatable field travel pathways and reduced field traffic, thereby reducing soil compaction and erosion.

Producer Eligibility

To be eligible for either nutrient or pest management precision agriculture incentives, a producer will be in one of the following categories:

  1. not currently applying these practices on cropland at the minimum levels as described below; or
  2. be willing to apply the practice(s) at a higher level as described below. If a producer has adopted precision agriculture at level 4 for nutrient and pest management on part of their operation, they are ineligible for participation in this program.

Maximum Acres

Maximum of 400 acres per year for 2 years per participant for either Nutrient or Pest Management. This maximum can include both Pest and Nutrient Management on separate acres, not to exceed the total maximum of 400 acres. There is a maximum of 200 acres per year for 2 years per participant for both Nutrient and Pest Management on the same acres. All contracts will be limited to 3 years (2 years of payments for management and 1 year of maintenance).

Nutrient Management (590)

Practice Requirements

Base Requirement: At least one variable-rate application (VRA) of nutrients (nitrogen, lime, phosphorous, and/or potassium) has been made. Phosphorus, lime and potassium VRA must be made according to fertilizer recommendations based on grid soil samples representing areas no greater than 2.5 acres OR zone soil sampling representing areas of no greater than 20 acres. Zones must be based on soil survey data or soil electrical conductivity data, or aerial or satellite images. Yield data may also be used to establish zones.

Nitrogen VRA should be made based on sensor technology (examples: Greenseeker, Crop Circle, etc). Sensor data can be used for an on-the-go variable-rate application or sensor data can be collected from the field and nitrogen applied based on said data in a subsequent application.

Practice Levels

  1. Base requirement only. ($8.00/acre)
  2. Base requirement, plus VRA must be conducted using a vehicle equipped with a GPS-enabled guidance utilizing free correction service i.e. WAAS, SF1, etc.($12.00)
  3. Base requirement, plus VRA must be conducted using a vehicle equipped with GPS-enabled guidance utilizing a paid subscription service i.e. OmniSTAR HP/XP, SF2, etc. ($14.00)
  4. Base requirement, plus VRA must be conducted using a vehicle equipped with GPS-enabled guidance utilizing RTK correction service with +/- 1 inch accuracy and year-to-year repeatability. ($20.00)

Certification Requirements

* Soil sampling maps with soil test recommendations (grid or zone) along with as-applied nutrient maps (map not required if no nutrients recommended) must be supplied to the NRCS field office for certification. Maps may be supplied in hardcopy or electronic form (shapefile (.shp) or Rich Text Format (RTF), or Portable Document Format (PDF), or jpeg file). Maps will include field boundaries, product applied, rate and date applied and a map legend. Soil sampling should be completed the first year of the contract unless soil sampling data is available from the previous two years. If prior year data is used, then subsequent sampling should be completed the second year of the contract.

* Nutrient Management plan developed by NRCS or TSP that meets requirements set forth by NRCS Nutrient Management Standard.

* Precision Ag equipment for GPS-enabled navigation must be installed on predominant nutrient application equipment for enrolled fields.

* For variable-rate Nitrogen: N rich strip should be established for contract acres. A map of the as- applied nitrogen should be provided to the NRCS Field Office for certification, along with proof of ownership of a sensor product. Maps may be supplied in hardcopy or electronic form (shapefile (.shp) or Rich Text Format (RTF), or Portable Document Format (PDF), or jpeg file). Maps will include field boundaries, product applied, rate and date applied and a map legend.

Pest Management (595)

Practice Levels

  1. At least one pesticide application has been made with a vehicle equipped with GPS-enabled guidance utilizing a free correction service i.e. WAAS, SF1, etc. ($8.00)
  2. At least one pesticide application has been made with a vehicle using swath control technology (boom-section or nozzle control) and GPS-enabled guidance utilizing a free correction service i.e. WAAS, SF1, etc.($14.00)
  3. At least one pesticide application has been made with a vehicle equipped with GPS-enabled guidance utilizing a correction service with a minimum accuracy of +/- 4 inches i.e. HP/XP, SF2, RTK signal. ($16.00)
  4. At least one pesticide application has been made with a vehicle using swath control technology (boom-section or nozzle control) and GPS-enabled guidance utilizing a correction service with a minimum accuracy of +/- 4 inches i.e. HP/XP, SF2, RTK signal. ($22.00)

Certification Requirements

* Precision Ag equipment for GPS-enabled navigation must be installed on predominant pesticide application equipment for enrolled fields.

* Pest Management plan developed or approved by NRCS or TSP that meets requirements set forth by NRCS Pest Management Standard (i.e. WIN-PST evaluation to minimize environmental risk).

* Pesticide application records and when available geo-referenced as-applied maps must be supplied to the NRCS field office for certification. Maps may be supplied in hardcopy or electronic form (shapefile (.shp) or Rich Text Format (RTF), Portable Document Format (PDF), or jpeg file). Maps will include field boundaries, product applied, rate and date applied and a map legend.

Definitions

* WAAS - Wide Area Augmentation Service is a free GPS correction service administered through the Federal Aviation Administration

* SF1 or SF2 - StarFire 1 is John Deere's free GPS correction service which can be used with JD's receivers; StarFire 2 is John Deere's fee-based correction service which increases accuracy to +/- 4 inches

* HP/XP - Fee based correction service provided by OmniStar which provides 2-4 inch accuracy

* VRA - Variable Rate Application of fertilizer utilizes GPS technology to apply a prescribed rate of fertilizer or lime at a specific location within the field based on soil test results. Product application rates and locations are determined based on soil test data linked to GPS coordinates. Product application rates for VRA of nitrogen are based on Auburn University sensor technology guidelines.

Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. Individuals are not eligible for EQIP until they have completed the Farm Bill eligibility requirements.  Contact your local NRCS office or FSA office to begin this process.  NRCS field offices are listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Department of Agriculture or on-line at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov.