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Additional 2013 EQIP Information

General Program Description

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The program promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to assist eligible participants install or implement structural, vegetative, and management conservation practices on eligible agricultural land.

EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term that ends one year after the implementation of the last scheduled practice and a maximum term of 10 years. EQIP activities are carried out according to a conservation plan of operations developed with the program participant(s). Conservation practices are subject to Kansas NRCS electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG) standards and specifications. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified Technical Service Provider for technical assistance, if available.

Historically underserved farmer/rancher (beginning farmer/rancher [BF], limited resource farmer/rancher [LRF], and socially disadvantaged farmer/rancher [SDF]) are eligible for a higher payment rate. Certification that participants meet this requirement is made on the application, Form NRCS-CPA-1200.

Applications can be taken at any time during the year. Sign-up is conducted at local USDA Service Centers

Cutoff dates will be scheduled to allow for ranking and selection of applications.

EQIP is a competitive program. Since program implementation in 1997 there has been great demand for EQIP financial assistance in Kansas. Producers should not hesitate to sign-up for the program if they have a resource concern the program seeks to address. NRCS is available for assistance to determine if a resource concern exists on the site.

Ranking Categories and Priority Natural Resource Concerns

Based on input from local work groups, the Kansas Technical Committee (KTC), and national EQIP priorities, ranking categories and primary resource concerns are identified as priorities.

Each priority ranking category has a category for historically underserved farmers/ranchers. A beginning farmer/rancher, limited resource farmer/rancher, or socially disadvantaged farmer/rancher may apply under the designated ranking category or under the ranking category of their resource concern, but not both on the same land.

The resource concern "Fish and Wildlife – Threatened and Endangered Species, Declining Species, Species of Concern" is addressed within each ranking category as a secondary concern. The wildlife concern may be treated, if there is a primary resource concern being treated, with the available practices.

The availability of other programs, both public and private, to assist with activities related to the priority natural resource concerns was considered. Additional funds are available from state agencies and private organizations for the treatment of these priority resource concerns and may be partnered with EQIP.

Application Evaluation Criteria

Applications are evaluated by a ranking category. Statewide criteria has been developed and eligible practices identified for each ranking category. The State Conservationist, with recommendations from the Local Work Groups and Kansas Technical Committee, established the ranking categories and priority resource concerns to be addressed in Kansas for Fiscal Year 2013.

The use of geo-spatial data and tools enable Kansas NRCS to implement a streamlined process that ensures the optimization of environmental benefits and standardization of application evaluation in EQIP. Geo-spatial data was compiled and used in the allocation and application process.

For the application process, a tool (CPGI) was constructed to gather information used to determine the amount of environmental benefit gained from each application and track location of applications. This tool is used extensively after funding decisions are made to evaluate program delivery, assess program effectiveness, and analyze before and after impacts of treatment.

In compliance with the 2008 Farm Bill, ranking categories for organic and the historically underserved were established.

Ranking

Applications are ranked through the NRCS Programs Contracts System using four different factors: Efficiency, National Priorities, State Issues, and Local Issues.

In those ranking categories where Local Issues are used, the Efficiency section accounts for 10 percent of the application score. Efficiency is scored on the conservation practices to be installed, practice service life, and practice average annual cost.

National Priorities account for 25 percent of the application score. This section scores the application based on its treatment of EQIP national priorities. The five EQIP national priorities are:

  • Reduction of non-point source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with Total Daily Maximum Loads (TMDLs), where available; the reduction of surface and groundwater contamination; and reduction of contamination from agricultural point sources such as concentrated animal feeding operations.
  • Conservation of ground and surface water resources.
  • Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOX), volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
  • Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land.
  • Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation.

State Issues account for 40 percent of the application score. This section determines the application's benefits to Kansas natural resource priorities, as determined by the State Conservationist based on recommendations from the Local Work Groups and the Kansas Technical Committee.

Local Issues account for 25 percent of the application score. This section determines the application's benefits to issues of local concerns, based on recommendations from Local Work Groups.

Eligible Conservation Practices

Eligible practices were chosen to address the priority natural resource concerns with consideration for other natural resource concerns. As a result, multiple natural resource concerns will be treated with EQIP funds.

All practices and components receiving EQIP financial assistance, unless otherwise stated, must:

  • Be maintained for the lifespan of the practice, as defined in the Conservation Programs Manual;
  • Comply with NRCS electronic Field Office Technical Guide standards and specifications;
  • Comply with all federal, state, and local regulations;
  • Meet the requirements of the ranking category criteria; and
  • Be included in the EQIP contract.

All practices must meet the requirements of the ranking category criteria and the Conservation Programs Manual to be eligible for payment.

Financial assistance for management practices is available when the applicant has not previously adopted the practice requesting assistance on the application acres.

Practice eligibility will be determined by the application ranking category selected.

Conservation Activity Plans

The following Conservation Activity Plans (CAPs) are eligible practices in applicable ranking categories.

  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan CAP
  • Nutrient Management Plan CAP
  • Forest Management Plan CAP
  • Grazing Management Plan CAP
  • Integrated Pest Management Plan CAP
  • Irrigation Water Management Plan CAP
  • Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management Plan CAP
  • Pollinator Habitat Enhancement Management Plan CAP

A single, stand-alone application will be received by participants who desire a CAP to be developed by a certified technical service provider (TSP). The CAP will be scheduled and completed during the first 12 months after obligation. Payments will be made to the participant for CAP development once the TSP has provided appropriate statement of work (SOW) deliverables, documentation, and certification for the CAP.

Additional information on Conservation Activity Plans can be found on the National NRCS web site.

Allocation Process

Allocations are made to NRCS administrative areas for the Forestland Health, Livestock Waste, Stream System Restoration (Area 3 only), Water Quantity, and Wildlife Habitat ranking categories. Applications in these ranking categories are ranked within the NRCS administrative area.

Allocations are made to the management unit level for Grazing Lands Health and Water Quality, and Soil Health. All allocations are based on the amount, type, and magnitude of the priority resource concerns. Applications in these ranking categories are ranked within the management unit.

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Kansas NRCS Multi-County Management Units Map (PDF; 284 KB) (Text version)

The allocations for Sedimentation of Federal Reservoirs; all Beginning Farmer, Limited Resource Farmer, and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer categories; Tribal; and Water Quantity-Quick Response Area fund codes are handled from the state level. Applications in these ranking categories are ranked on a statewide basis.

Kansas has received an EQIP allocation of $17.8 million. Allocation distribution will be made as determined by the State Conservationist based upon recommendations from the Kansas Technical Committee.

Funding Distribution Allocation
State EQIP Allocation $17,800,673
State Reserve $500,000
Conservation Innovation Grants $200,000
Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative $155,420
Drought Recovery Initiative $1,296,740
National On-Farm Energy Initiative $583,578
National Organic Initiative $200,000
National Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative $300,000
National Water Quality Initiative $764,101
Ogallala Aquifer Initiative $1,500,000
EQIP Ranking Category Funding $12,300,834

 

Ranking Category Percent of Allocation Allocation
Forestland Health 1% $123,008
Grazing Lands Health 18% $2,214,150
Livestock Waste 20% $2,460,167
Sedimentation Above Federal Reservoirs 3% $369,025
Soil Health 10% $1,230,083
Stream System Restoration 4.5% $553,538
Tribal 0.5% $61,504
Water Quality 18% $2,214,150
Water Quantity 8% $984,067
Water Quantity - Quick Response Areas 3% $369,025
Wildlife Habitat 3.5% $430,529
Beginning Farmer/Rancher 5% $615,042
Limited Resource Farmer/Rancher 0.5% $61,504
Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher 5% $615,042
Ranking Category Allocation 100% $12,300,834

Any dollars not obligated in any ranking category will be transferred to other ranking categories prior to the Kansas obligation deadline of April 5, 2013.