On-Farm Energy Initiative
NRCS has the authority to use EQIP to specifically address energy conservation through implementation of an Agricultural Energy Management Plan and practice implementation. The program is designed to assist producers in two ways:
- Identify ways to reduce energy use on their operation through an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP) Conservation Activity Plan (CAP), also known as an on-farm energy audit
- Provide assistance to implement various recommended measures that address inefficient use of on-farm energy using NRCS conservation practice standards.
What is an Agricultural Energy Management Plan?
An On-farm energy audit or Agricultural Energy Management Plan is an evaluation of the energy use and efficiency on the operation. The audit meets the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) standard 612 for Type 2 audits. This standard establishes procedures for performing on-farm audits to determine and document current energy usage, and to provide an estimation of energy savings from alternatives in cultivation, protection, harvesting, processing and storage of agricultural commodities and in the feeding housing and processing of farm animals and animal products. To receive financial assistance for the implementation of energy recommendations from a plan, the energy audit must be less than five years old and meet the Type 2 standards. Practices recommended for installation are based on the landowner's goals and objectives and the lifecycle energy savings and cost-effectiveness of the practice.
What Practices are Eligible?
Practices that address inefficient use of energy and energy savings as recommended in the AgEMP are eligible for financial assistance through the Energy Initiative. Practices include the following:
- Agricultural Energy Management Plan (128) - Applicants that do not have a plan can receive financial assistance to have a plan developed by a Technical Service provider (an NRCS approved consultant.)
- Farmstead Energy Improvement (374)
- Irrigation Water Management (449)
- Pumping Plant (533)
- Lighting System Improvement (670) - complete replacement or retrofitting of one or more components of an existing agricultural lighting system
- Building Envelope Improvement (672) - modification or retrofit of the building envelope of an existing agricultural structure. Examples include insulation and vapor retarders, greenhouse glazing, greenhouse energy screens and insulation, and commercial doors and windows.
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. Funding pools that NRCS has established have been cropland, irrigated cropland, livestock, and forestland. 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.
For more information on how NRCS addresses energy, visit the Energy Technical Page.
To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted
Find your local USDA Service Center
Sign up for Farm Bill email updates