Forest Land in New Jersey
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program for persons who are engaged in livestock, forestry, or agricultural production, including organic production. EQIP offers financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land. Forestry is an eligible land use under the EQIP program and all EQIP eligibility requirements apply. EQIP provides payments for implementing conservation practices on forest land that have a positive environmental impact, while protecting long term production and sustainability.
Applicants interested in implementing conservation practices on forest land must have a Forest Stewardship Plan for their operation. They must be willing to follow the implementation schedule agreed to in the contract. If the participant does not have a forest Stewardship Plan, they may sign up for a Conservation Activity Plan to receive financial assistance to have one developed for their operation.
Applicants must have an interest in an agricultural (forestry) operation, have current crop and producer records on file with USDA’s Farm Service Agency, and be compliant with the conservation provisions of the current farm bill. They must own or control the land, and agree to implement conservation practices according to the contract schedule. It is recommended that applicants check with their local NRCS office to confirm that their property is eligible for enrollment in EQIP.
What Practices Receive Funding?
NRCS will review the Forest Stewardship Plan and determine the conservation practices that are recommended to improve environmental quality both on and off site. Eligible practices must reduce soil erosion or sedimentation, promote forest soil quality, enhance habitat for wildlife species of concern, or improve ecologic conditions for desirable forest species. The practices must be described in detail in the Plan and scheduled for implementation within three years of contract signing.
Forestry applications will be grouped for competitive ranking into a forestry funding pool, with the highest ranked applications selected for contract development.
Practices may not be started until the contract is signed by NRCS, unless the applicant requests a waiver from the state conservationist.
Don’t Have a Stewardship Plan?
EQIP offers contracts to develop Stewardship Plans! Producers are eligible to develop a Conservation Activity Plan for the forest land, which is an NRCS-defined Forest Management (Stewardship) Plan for forestland acreage. The Plan must address all resource concerns, including critical wildlife habitat, protection of stream corridors and environmentally sensitive areas. Once the Plan is approved by the State Forester, the producer may apply for another EQIP contract to implement practices scheduled in the Plan, as described above.
EQIP Conservation Practices for Forest Land
Eligible Practices on Forest Land
|Reduce soil erosion or sedimentation
||Critical Area Planting, Forest Stand Improvement, Streambank and Shoreline Protection, Tree & Shrub Establishment, Forest Trails & Landings
|Promote forest soil quality
||Critical Area Planting, Forest Stand Improvement, Tree & Shrub Establishment
|Enhance habitat for wildlife species of concern
||Access Control, Brush Management, Firebreak, Forest Stand Improvement, Fish Passage, Prescribed Burning, Tree & Shrub Establishment, Tree & Shrub Site Preparation
|Improve ecologic conditions for desirable forest species
||Forest Stand Improvement, Prescribed Burning, Tree & Shrub Establishment, Tree & Shrub Site Preparation
How Does Signup for EQIP Work?
EQIP applications can be submitted anytime during the year. EQIP has a continuous sign-up with application cut-off dates to rank and prioritize any new or unfunded applications. A signed application can be filed with the local NRCS office at any time. View Current Funding Opportunities for current application periods. A signed application indicates an interest in developing a conservation plan, the first step in the application process.
EQIP is a competitive program that uses an evaluation and ranking process to assess the needs and cost effectiveness of implementing the conservation plan. Applications are grouped for competitive ranking into "funding pools" with the highest ranked applications in each pool selected for contract development. View the application documents page for more information on ranking tools.
Contract offers that include practices to address soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, reduced animal waste production and reduced energy consumption are high priority.
Visit Opportunities for Historically Underserved Producers in New Jersey to learn more about how NRCS is committed to ensuring that its programs and services are accessible to all our customers, fairly and equitably, with emphasis on reaching the under served and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and tribes of our state.