Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Applications are taken on a continual basis.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers to implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land. It is a voluntary program that promotes environmental quality in agricultural production. Producers can apply for financial assistance for many types of conservation practices. A second ranking period has been announced for Working Lands for Wildlife, Greater Sage Grouse and Ogallala Aquifer Initiative. All applications received by June 20, 2014, focusing on these initiatives, will be considered for funding in FY2014. All sign-ups are conducted at USDA Service Centers in Wyoming.
How EQIP is being implemented in Wyoming:
The overall philosophy for EQIP in Wyoming is to meet national priorities, be locally driven, streamlined, and provide flexibility for producers to achieve their diverse conservation objectives.
Wyoming State Conservation Plan/Priorities:
The following priorities are based on recommendations from the Wyoming State Technical Committee. The State Technical Committee is made up of representatives from various producer groups, conservation organizations, agribusinesses, and federal, state, and tribal government agencies.
Grazing lands management
Irrigation water management
Prevention of the conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural use
Streambank/riparian area protection
Fish and wildlife habitat
Noxious and invasive species
The following resource concerns have been identified as a priority across Wyoming. These state level priorities support the national EQIP priorities. Funds are set aside for these priorities and applications are accepted statewide.
Water Quality - AFO/CAFO Account
In Wyoming, EQIP funds will be focused to help producers who want to make changes in their livestock waste management systems. These funds will assist producers with Animal Feeding Operation/Confined Animal Feeding Operation (AFO/CAFO) regulations and supports the national priority of reducing non-point source pollution.
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State Energy Account
This account provides producers an opportunity to convert existing systems on their farm or ranch to a more energy efficient operation (conservation tillage, solar water systems, pumping plant, etc.) or to install an alternative energy source when considering new systems. It also provides opportunity to encourage landowners with expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to maintain the land in permanent vegetation by establishing a sustainable grazing system with water and fencing.
State Wildlife/Wetland Account
Producers interested in addressing wetland and/or upland habitat resource concerns may apply for these funds. Projects may include wetland restoration or enhancement and/or enhancement of upland shrub plant communities.
State Streambank-Riparian Account
This account provides an opportunity for participants to treat erosion or degradation along streams and enhance riparian habitat for aquatic species.
State Forestry Account
This account provides an opportunity to improve forest health through treatment of Mountain Pine Beetle; completing commercial thinning projects or Aspen regeneration. A Forest Management Plan will be developed for these projects.
State Invasive Species - Russian Olive/Salt Cedar Account
This account provides assistance for projects to treat Russian Olive and Salt Cedar encroachment along stream corridors.
State Livestock Protection – Off Stream Structures Account
This account will allow participants to install fabricated windbreak structures to protect riparian areas from grazing which will improve water quality.
State Soil Health Account
This account will allow participants to increase diversity of crop rotation, implement precision agriculture techniques or convert irrigated fields to dryland.
In FY 2014, Wyoming Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) created eight divisions within the state for developing ranking criteria to treat irrigation and grazinglands resource concerns. Similar resource concerns, landuse, climate, topography and farming and ranching practices were considered when developing these divisions. Four subaccounts were developed for each division based on landuse and resource concern. The subaccounts and ranking tools are the same for all eight divisions.
Subaccount and Ranking Tools for each division:
Additional tools needed to answer Irrigation subaccount questions:
A portion of Wyoming’s EQIP funds will be allocated to the eight Divisions based on the following criteria which include factors that support national and state priorities.
Number of farms/ranches
Number of Historically Underserved Producers
Private, Tribal, and other non-federal acres needing treatment
At-risk species habitat
Rates will be set at levels that encourage producers to adopt the conservation practice, while optimizing the use of federal funds.
Eligible Conservation Practices:
The Wyoming electronic Field Office Tech Guide (eFOTG)contains a list of potential practices eligible for financial assistance.
Any producer engaged in livestock or crop production on eligible land may apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture land, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
Since 1997, over $130 million of EQIP financial assistance has been distributed across Wyoming to address natural resource concerns. These dollars will allow private landowners to implement prescribed grazing and other land treatments on rangeland; install improved irrigation and water management systems on cropland and hayland; address water quality concerns, including livestock waste management; and improve riparian area health and wildlife habitat.
Mary Schrader, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, 307-233-6757