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Colorado Conservation Activity Plan (CAP)

FY 2015 EQIP Conservation Activity Plan (CAP)

What Is A Conservation Activity Plan?

A Conservation Activity Plan or 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

A CAP can also address a specific resource need, such as nutrient management or an air quality concern. With a CAP plan, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices.

What Authority Does NRCS Have For CAPs?

Farm Bill legislation provides NRCS the authority to use financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for practice payments to develop plans appropriate for the eligible land of a program participant. The Act specifically authorizes EQIP to be used for comprehensive nutrient management plans and other plans that further the purposes of the program. The conservation practice associated with plan development under this authority is known as a “Conservation Activity Plan”, or CAP.

How Do CAP Costs and Payments Work?

The Farm Bill statute allows EQIP payments based upon the estimated incurred cost of practice implementation, which for a CAP will be the labor costs typically associated with development of a plan meeting agency standards and requirements.

The payment is increased for qualifying historically underserved producers.

NRCS approves CAPs and contract payment rates offered through EQIP every fiscal year.

Colorado will offer the following CAPs in Fiscal Year 2015.

Practice Code Conservation Activity Plan Name To be Ranked in the following EQIP program subaccount(s) General Description
102 Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan CAPs_General OR FY15 Air Quality National A comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) is a conservation plan for an animal feeding operation (AFO) that documents how nutrients and contaminants will be managed in the production and land treatment areas of the farm to protect animal & human health, and the environment.
104 Nutrient Management Plan FY14 Certified Organic OR CAPs_General OR FY15 Air Qulaity National Nutrient management plans are documents of record of how nutrients will be managed for plant production and to address the environmental concerns related to the offsite movement of nutrients from agricultural fields.
106 Forest Management Plan CAPs_General OR FY15 Air Quality National A forest management plan is a site specific plan developed for a client, which addresses one or more resource concerns on land where forestry-related conservation activities or practices will be planned and applied.
108 Feed Management Plan CAPs_General OR FY15 Air Quality National A feed management plan is a farm-specific documented plan developed for a client who addresses manipulation and control of the quantity and quality of available nutrients, feedstuffs, and/or additives fed to livestock and poultry.
110 Grazing Management Plan CAPs_General A grazing management plan is a site-specific plan, developed with a client to address one or more resource concerns on land where grazing related activities or practices will be applied.
112 Prescribed Burning Plan CAPs_General OR FY15 Air Quality National A prescribed burning plan is a site-specific plan developed with a client that addresses one or more resource concerns on land through the use of fire.
114 Integrated Pest Management CAPs_General OR FY15 Air Quality National Integrated pest management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that is a sustainable approach to manage pests using a combination of techniques such as chemical tools biological control, habitat manipulation, and modification of cultural practices and use of resistant varieties.
118 Irrigation Water Management Plan CAPs_General The objective of irrigation water management (IWM) is to control the volume, frequency, and rate of water for efficient irrigation. Measurements of soil moisture, plant water use, and climate provide feedback to decide when to irrigate, and how much water to apply.
122 Agricultural Energy Management Plan – Headquarters FY15 On-farm Energy An agricultural energy management plan – headquarters (AgEMP) is a detailed documentation of energy-consuming components and practices of the current operation, the previous year’s on-farm energy consumption, and the strategy by which the producer will explore and address their on-farm energy conservation concerns, objectives, and opportunities.
124 Agricultural Energy Management Plan – Landscape FY15 On-farm Energy A landscape energy plan is a detailed report/audit documenting the energy consuming components and practices of the current operation’s on-farm field energy consumption involved in the cropland, pasture/hayland, range, and woodland activities with recommended strategies to conserve energy resources.
126 Comprehensive Air Quality Management Plan FY15 Air Quality National Comprehensive air quality management plans (CAQMPs) may be part of conservation plans applicable to many agricultural operations. These plans assess practices and strategies adopted by agricultural operations to address environmental concerns directly related to air quality and atmospheric change.
130 Drainage Water Management Plan CAPs_General The objective of drainage water management (DWM) is to control soil water table elevations and the timing of water discharges from subsurface or surface agricultural drainage systems, allowing the opportunity for crop use of the subsurface water and nutrients.
134 Conservation Plan Supporting Transition from Irrigation to Dryland Plan CAPs_General A transition from irrigated to dryland farming and ranching conservation activity plan is a conservation system that focuses on crop yield sustainability and water conservation/water harvesting techniques.
138 Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition FY Organic Transition A “Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition” is a  conservation activity plan documenting decisions by producers/growers who agree to implement a system of conservation practices which assist the producer to transition from conventional farming or ranching systems to an organic production system.
142 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Plan CAPs_General A fish and wildlife habitat plan is a site-specific plan developed with a client who is ready to plan and implement conservation activities or practices with consideration for fish and wildlife habitat.
146 Pollinator Habitat Plan CAPs_General A pollinator habitat enhancement plan is a site-specific conservation plan developed for a client that addresses the improvement, restoration, enhancement, expansion of flower-rich habitat that supports native and/or managed pollinators.
154 IPM Herbicide Resistant Weed Cons8ervation Plan CAPs_General Integrated pest management herbicide resistance weed conservation plan is a plan with emphasis on modifying herbicide use for suppressing weeds on cropland.

Eligible producers may apply at their local NRCS office. EQIP payments are made directly to program participants for development of a CAP. These CAP plans may only be developed by an NRCS-certified Technical Service Provider (TSP).

How Do I Apply For A CAP?

NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis.

However, NRCS establishes application "cut-off" or submission deadline dates for evaluation and ranking of eligible applications. To obtain an EQIP application, visit or contact your local NRCS field office.

The current batching cut-off date is January 17, 2015. 

What Technical Requirements Do CAPs Have?

Technical requirements and planning criteria for each CAP are listed in each State's Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG). and in the CAP planning criteria available for download on in the "NRCS Technical Guidance Bulletin" section below. This information includes the details of what must be included in each kind of CAP approved for support through EQIP.

Detailed technical information should be located in “Section III” of each State FOTG. You can find State- and county-level technical guidance on the FOTG County Locator page.

How Do I Find a Technical Service Provider?

You can find information about Technical Service Providers, such as:

  • CAP services provided by certified TSPs
  • finding a TSP in your State
  • how to be to become a certified Technical Service Provider

on the NRCS Colorado TSP webpage.

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