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2016 Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

Every year NRCS targets 5 percent of EQIP funding for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (BFR) and another 5 percent to Socially Disadvantaged (SD) Farmers and Ranchers under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Beginning Farmers and Ranchers and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers are considered Historically Underserved Clients who may have limited access to capital, land and farming resources and traditionally low participation in USDA programs.  The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2014 (2014 Agricultural Act) allows for special consideration of Beginning Farmers/Ranchers and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers/Ranchers.

NRCS accepts EQIP applications year round.  The application deadline to be considered for funding for Fiscal Year 2016 is January 15, 2016

EQIP is a voluntary program that provides assistance to growers and landowners who want to plan and install measures to protect the soil, water, air and other natural resources on their working land. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP.

Technical and Financial Assistance

Through EQIP farmers and ranchers may apply for financial assistance and technical expertise to plan and install conservation measures, such as:

  • Conservation Crop Rotation,
  • Cover Crops,
  • Field Borders,
  • Mulching,
  • Nutrient Management,
  • Integrated Pest Management,
  • Residue Management,

Growers may not receive EQIP payments for conservation work they have already undertaken.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the BFR or SD EQIP program funding, applicants must be farmers or ranchers who have control of the land and meet the definitions below for either Beginning Farmer/Rancher or Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher. For other eligibility requirements, please visit: New Mexico EQIP Eligibility

Eligible land uses for the Beginning Farmer and Socially Disadvantaged EQIP fund accounts are Crop, Pasture, Range, Forest and Farmstead

A Beginning Farmer or Rancher means an individual or entity who:

  1. Has not operated a farm or ranch, or who has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 consecutive years. This requirement applies to all members of an entity
     
  2. Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch.

In the case of a contract with an individual, individually or with the immediate family, material and substantial participation requires that the individual provide substantial day-to-day labor and management of the farm or ranch, consistent with the practices in the county or State where the farm is located.

In the case of a contract with an entity, all members must materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch. Material and substantial participation requires that each of the members provide some amount of the management, or labor and management necessary for day-to-day activities, such that if each of the members did not provide these inputs, operation of the farm or ranch would be seriously impaired.

To document a status as Beginning Farmer/Rancher, the individual or the entity and all members of the entity must have one IRS Tax Return from the last 10 years where a Schedule F was not filed.

Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher

A socially disadvantaged group is a group whose members have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group, without regard to their individual qualities. These groups consist of the following:

  • American Indians or Alaskan Natives
  • Asians
  • Blacks or African Americans
  • Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders
  • Hispanics

Note: Gender alone is not a covered group for the purposes of NRCS conservation programs.

A socially disadvantaged applicant is an individual or entity who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group. For an entity, at least 50 percent ownership in the farm business must be held by socially disadvantaged individuals.

Note: One member of an eligible entity may certify for all members rather than have each member self-certify.  No documentation is needed to confirm the self-certification of Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher.

Veteran Farmer or Rancher

A Veteran Farmer or Rancher is:

A person who served in United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including the reserve components thereof, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable, and who—

has not operated a farm or ranch; or has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 consecutive years.

To document a status as Veteran Farmer/Rancher, the individual or entity and all members of the entity must have a DD-214 that shows honorable discharge from military service and one IRS Tax return in the last 10 years where a Schedule F was not filed.

How to Apply

To participate in the program, growers must work with NRCS to identify resource concerns on the operation and conservation practices to address the resource concerns. NRCS works with farmers and ranchers to develop a Conservation Plan/EQIP Schedule of Operations that includes a detailed description of the conservation activities and practices they want to implement on their land. 

Please contact the USDA Service Center nearest the location of your property to request technical assistance with developing an EQIP Conservation Plan/Schedule of Operations.
For an application form and more information on how to apply go to:

New Mexico EQIP Homepage

Funding Selection and Priorities

Priorities for EQIP funding are based on identified natural resource concerns that are consistent with state and national EQIP priorities. Applications that best address natural resource concerns as described in the ranking criteria are prioritized for funding.  Applications that are selected for funding will be reimbursed for contracted practices according to the payment rate for the conservation practice scenario.  Historically Underserved participants will receive the payment rate that is prefaced by (HU) on the payment schedule.  In New Mexico BFR and SD receive 90% of the estimated average cost of the practice.  BFR and SD Farmers and Ranchers may also receive up to 50 percent in advance after contract approval to purchase necessary supplies for practice implementation.

The documents below require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Veteran Farmers and Ranchers receive high priority for selection for BFR and SD fund accounts.  Applications are screened using the following Screening Criteria:

After screening, applications are ranked using the following ranking criteria based on primary land use:

Forested

Grazed Range

Irrigated Crop

 NM BFR Forested
 (PDF;  KB)

 North Area BFR Grazed Range
 (PDF; 12 KB)

 North Area BFR Irrigated Crop
 (PDF; 11 KB)

 NM SD Forested
 (PDF;  KB)

 South Area BFR Grazed Range
 (PDF; 11 KB)

 South Area BFR Irrigated Crop
 (PDF; 11 KB)

 

 North Area SD Grazed Range
 (PDF; 12 KB)

 North Area SD Irrigated Crop
 (PDF; 11 KB)

 

 South Area SD Grazed Range
 (PDF; 11 KB)

 South Area SD Irrigated Crop
 (PDF; 11 KB)

For More Information

New Farmers. Discover it here.
USDA New Farmers Website

Start Two Farm Logo
USDA Start2Farm

USDA Logo
Farm Loan Programs

Farm Answers
Picture of Minority Landowner Magazine
News and Resources for Minority Farmers in the Minority Landowner Magazine
Photo from NRCS Texas

 

Contacts

Please direct all questions about applying for EQIP to your local office.  Click here for the location of the office nearest you:  NRCS Field Offices

For questions about State program management please contact:

Kristin Graham Chavez
Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
6200 Jefferson N.E., Suite 305
Albuquerque, NM 87109-3434
(505)761-4404 voice
(855)538-6003 fax

Athena Pratt
Resource Conservationist for Programs
6200 Jefferson N.E., Suite 305
Albuquerque, NM 87109-3434
(505)761-4419 voice
(855)538-6003 fax