Mississippi EQIP Overview
How EQIP Works in Mississippi
Mississippi NRCS supports the locally led conservation effort in the delivery of conservation programs. The USDA local work group (USDA-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. The following is a brief overview of the process as it relates to EQIP.
The USDA-LWG ensures that a conservation needs assessment is developed using community stakeholders input. Utilizing the assessment process, the USDA-LWG identifies resource concerns, recommends practices, payment rates, cost-share levels and funding needs. The group assists in multi-county coordination when resource concerns will be addressed across county boundaries.
The above information is solicited by MS NRCS each year in a common format. Following the submittals of local proposals, the State Conservationist will convene the State Technical Committee to review requests and make recommendations on ranking criteria, eligible practices and funding. Any adopted recommendations to a county proposal will be returned to the county to incorporate into the county's final approval proposal.
Based on county resource assessments, the following seven state resource concerns have been identified as priorities for 2016.
- Water Quality Sedimentation
- Water Quality Animal Waste
- Water Quantity
- Sustainable Forestry
- Grazing Lands
- Declining Wildlife Habitats
A county allocation will be made each year based on a state formula including the county request, previous funding demand and performance, priority resource concerns and other related factors. The USDA-LWG will determine the percent of allocation among the county resource concerns to meet priorities. Final allocations to counties and special initiatives will be determined after receiving the states allocations.
Applications in each of the separate state resource concerns will be evaluated for funding with other eligible applications in that same land use in that same area. A ranking tool will prioritize applications based on the resource concerns that each county selected. The tool ranks applications on a county wide basis, not statewide. The unit rate of compensation shall be higher for Historically-Underserved Producers (Beginning Farmer, Limited Resource Farmer, or Socially Disadvantaged Farmer).
The national concerns have been developed by national staff, the state concerns were developed based on input from the State Technical Committee, conservation partners and NRCS technical and program staffs, while the local concerns are based on area-wide compilations from each county’s Local Work Group in that specific area.
Applicants who provide a written request, and qualify, for funds targeted to Beginning Farmer (BF), Limited Resource Farmer (LRF) and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer (SDF) will compete on an area wide basis with similar applicants.
MS NRCS will establish a cut off each year when funds must be obligated. If county funds are not obligated by this date, funds will be reallocated to other counties. The USDA-LWG will establish ranking periods, but must be before the state cut off for reallocating funds.
- National Energy Initiative Applications - The Energy Initiative is designed to assist eligible applicants in two ways: (1) Identify ways to conserve energy on their farms through an on-farm energy audit as detailed in an Agricultural Energy Management Conservation Activity plan, and (2) Provide assistance to implement specific conservation practice standards. Eligible FY16 EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative applications will compete for funds on a statewide basis. Information on practices available for financial assistance in Mississippi for the FY16 EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative is available in the Mississippi 2016 EQIP Energy Initiative Information.
- National Seasonal High Tunnel Applications - The High Tunnel Initiative has the potential to assist eligible applicants in addressing resource concerns on cropland such as improving air, plant & soil quality, reducing nutrient & pesticide transport, and reducing energy use by providing consumers with local source of fresh produce in an environmentally safe manner. Eligible FY16 EQIP High Tunnel Initiative applications will compete for funds on a statewide basis. Information on practices available for financial assistance in Mississippi for the FY16 EQIP High Tunnel Initiative is available in the Mississippi 2016 EQIP High Tunnel Initiative Information.
- National Organic Initiative Applications - The EQIP Organic Initiative provides assistance to eligible applicants to install conservation practices on agricultural operations related to organic production, whether those operations are certified organic producers or producers who are transitioning to become certified organic or producers who fall under the exempt category in the National Organic Program (NOP) regulation. Eligible FY16 EQIP Organic Initiative applications will compete for funds on a statewide basis. Information on practices available for financial assistance in Mississippi for the FY16 EQIP Organic Initiative is available in the Mississippi 2016 EQIP Organic Initiative Information. A certified conservation planner will assist you in developing a conservation plan addressing the resource concerns on your farm for the applicable land use and funding opportunities available in Mississippi's Fiscal Year 2016 EQIP program. NRCS Field Office staff will also assist you in completing all required information needed for your FY16 EQIP application.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Local Working Group or the Farm Service Agency determines eligible producers for the EQIP program. Any farmer engaged in livestock or crop production on eligible land may apply for EQIP. EQIP contracts may be for a tract, farm or multiple farms. Eligible land includes cropland; rangeland; pasture; private non-industrial forestland; and other farm or ranch lands, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
Scott Culberson, Acting Asst. State Conservationist (Programs)
Phone: (601) 965-5205
Clarence Finley, Resource Conservationist
Phone: (601) 965-4139 ext. 114