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NRCS Colorado EQIP Signup and Application Information

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The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. It supports production agriculture and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, agricultural producers may receive financial and technical help with structural and management conservation practices on agricultural land.

Colorado NRCS supports the locally led conservation effort in the delivery of conservation programs. The USDA local work group (LWG) serves as the starting point for the development and coordination of USDA programs to provide an integrated approach for addressing local natural resource concerns.

Who Can Apply
Owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on the land may participate in EQIP.

Payments

Farm Bill legislation provides NRCS with to provide financial assistance payments through EQIP to eligible producers to help implement approved conservation practices.

Additional financial assistance may be available to help producers develop conservation plans required to support EQIP projects.

Historically Underserved and Beginning Farmers

Historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, Tribes) may be eligible for increased practice payment rate to support implementation of conservation practices and conservation plans.

Historically underserved producers may also be eligible for advance payments up to 30 percent of the cost needed to purchase materials or contracting services to begin installation of approved conservation practices.

Payment and Benefit Limitations

Payments received by producers through EQIP are subject to limitations established by legislative authority, as follows:

Program participants may not receive, directly or indirectly, payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $300,000 for all EQIP contracts entered into during any six-year period. Participants whose projects NRCS determines to have special environmental significance may petition the NRCS Chief for the payment limitation to be waived to a maximum of $450,000. Additional payment limitations apply to producers enrolled in the EQIP Organic Initiative.

In additional to payment limitations, Farm Bill legislation also established that conservation program benefits to are limited to individuals or entities with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $1 million per year or less, unless two-thirds of that money is derived from agriculture, ranching, or forestry operations. The limit is based on the 3 tax years immediately preceding the year of the original contract obligation.

In additional to payment limitations, Farm Bill also established that conservation program benefits to are limited to individuals or entities with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $1 million per year or less, unless two-thirds of that money is derived from agriculture, ranching, or forestry operations. The limit is based on the 3 tax years immediately preceding the year of the original contract obligation.

Applying For Conservation Programs

For the person who has never applied for a federal agricultural program, the conservation application process may seem confusing. The information provided on this page and on other pages within this website are to provide a roadmap for those new to federal conservation programs. To get started, visit the Applying for Conservation Programs

Colorado EQIP Programs

Program

Description

Application Cutoff Date

Additional Documents

General EQIP

Owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on the land may participate in EQIP.

January 17, 2014

General EQIP Practices
Ranking Category Questions
Resource Concerns
EQIP General Ranking Tools
Payment Schedule
 

National EQIP Initiatives

Description

Ranking Application
Deadline Dates

Additional Documents

Air Quality Initiative

The EQIP Air Quality Initiative provides financial assistance to implement approved conservation practices to address significant air quality resource concerns for designated high priority geographic locations throughout the nation.

January 17, 2014

AQI Practices and Approved
Counties
AQI Ranking Tool
Payment Schedule

National Water
Quality Initiative
(NWQI)

The Water Quality Initiative is a focused approach to assist landowners in priority watersheds apply selected conservation practices to reduce the flow of sediment, nutrients and other runoff into impaired waterways.

January 17, 2014

Priority WS Map
NWQI Upper Grape Creek Ranking Tool
Payment Schedule

On-Farm Energy Initiative

The EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative identifies ways to conserve energy on the farm through an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP), also known as an on-farm energy audit; and by providing financial and technical assistance to help the producer implement recommendations and conservation practices in the audit plan.

January 17, 2014

Energy Practices
Energy Ranking Tool
Payment Schedule

Organic Initiative

The EQIP Organic Initiative is a special pool of money offered in all 50 states for farmers who are organic, transitioning to organic, or organic exempt with unique practices and payments determined by each state. Producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP) or carry out practices consistent with an OSP.

January 17, 2014

Organic Practices
Organic Ranking Questions
Organic Certification Form
Certified Organic Ranking Tool
Organic Transition Ranking Tool
Payment Schedule

Seasonal High
Tunnel Initiative

The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural product growers. The goal of the initiative is to assist producers to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner.

 January 17, 2014

SHT Practices
SHT Ranking Questions
SHT Ranking Tool
Payment Schedule

Landscape Conservation Initiatives

Description

Ranking Application
Deadline Dates

Additional Documents

Sage Grouse Initiative

Financial assistance is provided to implement conservation practices that conserve Greater sage-grouse populations by restoring its habitat and improving the productivity of ranching operations in 11 western states.

January 17, 2014

SGI Practices
SGI Ranking Questions
SGI Ranking Tool
Payment Schedule

Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative

Financial assistance is provided to implement conservation practices that help expand Lesser prairie-chicken habitat and benefit the long-term sustainability of producers’ agricultural operations in high priority habitat areas in the current range in the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

January 17, 2014

LPCI Practices
LPCI Ranking Questions
LPCI Ranking Tool
Payment Schedule

Ogallala Aquifer Initiative

The Ogallala Aquifer Initiative provides financial assistance on conservation practices that reduce aquifer water use, improve water quality and enhance the economic viability of croplands and rangelands in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota and Wyoming.

January 17, 2014

OAI Practices
OAI Ranking Questions
OAI Ranking Tool
Payment Schedule

State EQIP Targeted Conservation Projects and Initiatives

Description

Application Cutoff Date

Additional Documents

Edge-of-Field Water Quality Monitoring

NRCS provides financial assistance to producers to purchase monitoring equipment, conduct sample collection and analysis, and implement conservation practices on approved monitoring sites. Water quality monitoring involves collecting and testing water samples to identify and measure substances in the water.

 

Coming Soon:
Priority Area Map

Targeted Conservation Projects

 


Targeted Conservation Projects are selected from proposals received by Conservation Districts and Local Working Groups. These projects are focused on specific resource concerns and treatment practices.

January 17, 2014

Coming Soon:
List of targeted projects
TCP Ranking 

Colorado River Salinity Control

The Colorado River Salinity Control provides financial assistance to implement approved conservation practices to address significant water quality resource concerns related to salinity for designated salinity project areas in Colorado, and for other catchment areas in the Colorado River Basin that have a high potential for salt control.

January 17, 2014

Salinity Practices
Salinity Ranking Questions
CO River Basin Salinity Ranking Tool
Wildlife Habitat Improvement Salinity Ranking Tool
Payment Schedule

NRCS accepts EQIP applications year-round. Periodically, usually once a year, NRCS announces an application deadline date to rank and select applications submitted for funding on or before the deadline date. NRCS defers applications received after this date until the next funding cycle. 

Conservation Activity Plans (CAP)

NRCS may also provide financial assistance to participants for conservation planning services through a Technical Service Provider (TSP) to develop Conservation Activity Plans (CAP). A CAP can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need. Typically, these plans are specific to certain kinds of land use such as transitioning to organic operations, grazing land, forest land, or can also address a specific resource need such a plan for management of nutrients or to address an air quality concern. With a CAP plan, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices.

For More Information

Please contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center.

Contact Person

Sarah Brooks, EQIP Program Manager
Phone: 720-544-2821