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14 Lee Co EQIP Executive Summary

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Lee County, Alabama will hold a sign-up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the 2014 Fiscal Year. Signup is open countywide and on a continuous basis. Any eligible land user who has an NRCS identified resource concern related to pastureland/hayland, woodland, cropland, irrigation efficiency, or animal agriculture may apply for financial assistance through this program.

Applications may be made in person at:

USDA-NRCS
3381 Skyway Drive, Suite 2
Auburn, Alabama 36830
Hours:  Monday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Phone:  334-887-4553
Fax:  334-887-4594
Contact:  District Conservationist

The local USDA Work Group has identified the resource concerns in order of priority in Lee County as:

  1. Erosion and Soil Quality
  2. Grazing Lands
  3. Irrigation water Management
  4. Forest Health and Wildlife
  5. Water Quality/Animal Waste

All applications will be ranked and approvals based on an environmental ranking worksheet that has been adjusted to meet local resource concerns. Applications with the highest point totals generated from this worksheet will be ranked higher for consideration of financial assistance than those applications with lower points within each resource concern. Funding will be allocated among the resource concerns as prioritized above and in a manner to ensure that the county allocation is exhausted and the least amount is turned back to the state level. 

Applications will be batched and ranked in intervals according to the NRCS State Office guidelines until all money is allocated or pulled from the county at the end of the program year. Applications filed after October 18, 2013 will be considered during the next batching period if additional funds become available.

For  FY-2014, an applicant will be able to enter an application in as many statewide funding pools as he/she is eligible for but will only be able to apply in one county wide fund pool (example: A  New and Beginning Farmer wants to sign up for tree planting and cross fence/watering facilities.) In the statewide pool he/she can apply in the New and Beginning Farmer pool but in the county pool he/she has to choose between Forestry/Wildlife or Grazing Lands.

Lee County will use the Alabama NRCS state approved EQIP Practice and Payment Schedule. 

Written leases must be provided for the length of the contract where applicants installing practices are not the current landowner(s). Structural practices installed must have prior written approval of landowner(s).

If a landowner has received an incentive payment in a previous EQIP contract, they will not be allowed to receive additional incentive payments for the same practice and/or practice level during the life of the present farm bill.

Limited Resource Farmers, New and Beginning Farmers, and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers will be paid at an increased payment rate. Additional documentation for certification as Limited Resource and New and Beginning Farmers will be required at contracting, and applicants will self-certify that they meet the requirements to qualify as a Socially Disadvantaged Farmer. A percentage of these applicants will be subject to NRCS State Office random spot checks.

Additional information is available on the National NRCS EQIP website.