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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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FY 2015 Information and Applications

The application deadline for FY 2015 funding consideration is January 16, 2015.

EQIP has a continuous sign-up period.  Applications will be accepted at any time of the year.  Applications received up to a certain date are evaluated and ranked for funding assistance.  All applications received by that date will be evaluated and considered for funding.  
 

Program Overview

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program authorized under the Agricultural Act of 2014, that helps producers install measures to protect soil, water, plant, wildlife, and other natural resources while ensuring sustainable production on their farms, ranches and working forest lands. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP funding and provides participants with professional conservation expertise.
 

National Priorities (7 CFR Part 1466.4)

The following national priorities, consistent with statutory resources concerns that include soil quality, water quality and quantity, plants, energy, wildlife habitat, air quality, and related natural resource concerns, may be used in EQIP implementation:

  1. Reductions of nonpoint source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with total maximum daily loads (TMDL) where available; the reduction of surface and groundwater contamination; and the reduction of contamination from agricultural sources, such as animal feeding operations;
  2. Conservation of ground and surface water resources;
  3. Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards;
  4. Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land;
  5. Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat; and
  6. Energy conservation to help save fuel, improve efficiency of water use, maintain production, and protect soil and water resources by more efficiently using fertilizers and pesticides.

State Priorities

New Mexico's priorities mirror the national priorities.  For FY 2015 the top three priorities are resource concerns related to plant condition, water quantity and water quality.  The next three priorities are resource concerns related to animals (livestock and wildlife), soil erosion and soil quality.

Technical Assistance

NRCS staff will work with applicants to assess their natural resource concerns in relation to their agricultural operations, develop and discuss alternative treatments for mitigating the resource concerns and help them prepare a written plan.  Additional technical assistance may be available to prepare preliminary and final engineering designs or other plans related to grazing management, irrigation water management, integrated pest management and more.

Through EQIP, NRCS may also provide or cover the cost of professional technical services to design the selected measures. This includes: on-site assessments, site-specific practice and management plans, and engineering designs. Applicants who want to consider hiring a certified technical service provider (TSP) to perform this work can find them at the NRCS TechReg website.  The Conservation Activity Plan Payment Rates provides information on what NRCS pays Technical Service Providers (TSPs) to develop various plans.

Financial Assistance

Those who submit an application and are accepted into EQIP may receive payments to offset costs associated with materials and installation of conservation Practices. Practices funded through EQIP may include such measures as: manure management practices, pest management treatments, irrigation systems improvements, forest stewardship plans and management practices, erosion control and buffers, range and pasture planting, brush management, fencing, watering facilities, and a wide range of other practices.   For a list of practices eligible for financial assistance in New Mexico, practice scenarios and the payment rates for each of the practices please click on the Scenarios and Eligible Practices/Payment Rates links.

New Mexico strives to insure our Historically Underserved (HU) producers are well informed about the EQIP and have every opportunity to participate.  HU applicants include those who qualify as a Beginning Farmer-Rancher, a Socially Disadvantaged Farmer-Rancher, or Limited Resource Farmer-Rancher.  For many years 40 percent to 50 percent of our EQIP applications have been from HU producers and almost 50 percent of EQIP funds are obligated to HU participants.  New Mexico utilizes the highest percentage factor allowable by law (90 percent) in determining practice payment rates for our HU clients.  Participants may be required to provide certain tax documents to verify eligibility as a Limited Resource or Beginning Farmer or Rancher.  Click here for more information on Historically Underserved Clients.
 

EQIP Sign-up Options
Click on each sign-up option below for more information, including practices and payment rates.
Next Application Batch Date(s)
General EQIP EQIP applications may be submitted at any time with your local USDA Service Center. For more information, see “Technical and Financial Assistance” below. Jan. 16, 2015
EQIP Organic Initiative Special EQIP funding is available to certified organic growers and those transitioning to organic production. A wide suite of practices are available to address a host of resource concerns. Jan. 16, 2015
New Mexico Watershed Initiative Watersheds with high priority resource concerns have been approved to receive funds held in a funding pool at the state level. Jan. 16, 2015
New Mexico Small Farms and Ranches Initiative New Mexico sets aside a portion of EQIP funding for producers who meet certain acreage and income requirements. Jan. 16, 2015
Conservation Activity Plan Financial assistance will be provided to agricultural producers who want to obtain a conservation activity plan from a NRCS approved (private) Technical Service Provider (TSP).  Open All Year
Lesser Prairie Chicken Producers engaged in grazing operations with leks, or the potential for leks, are encouraged to apply for EQIP financial assistance.  This initiative is intended to assist with ongoing recovery efforts for this species of concern.  The initiative is available to producers in Chaves, Curry, De Baca, Eddy, Lea, Roosevelt and Quay counties. Jan. 16, 2015
Ogallala Aquifer Initiative Funds are available in selected counties (Curry, Lea, Quay, Roosevelt and Union) to turn off pumps using water from the Ogallala Aquifer, in an attempt to sustain the aquifer.  Producers can seed their land to permanent vegetation and also enhance wildlife habitat. Jan. 16, 2015
On-Farm Energy Initiative Special EQIP funding is available to agricultural producers prepared to implement specific practices with energy benefits, including irrigation improvements, Farmstead energy improvements, Tillage management, Pumping plant improvements, and more Jan. 16, 2015
Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative Special EQIP funding is available to agricultural producers prepared to erect new seasonal high tunnels and possibly implement specific associated practices. Jan. 16, 2015
National Water Quality Initiative Funding to assist producers to address high priority water resource concerns in selected small watersheds. TBD
New Mexico Wildlife Initiative Funds to assist producers implement practices which will help mitigate wildlife habitat degradation

Apr. 17, 2015

New Mexico Acequia Initiative Funding to assist multiple landowners receiving irrigation water from a legally organized acequia association to plan, design and install irrigation conveyance improvements and associated components. Jan. 16, 2015
Regional Conservation Partnership Program Funds will be available to assist producers to address a wide range of resource concerns in approved project areas. TBD

*CCPI and AWEP were not re-authorized under the Agricultural Act of 2014.

General Application Information and Procedure

Applications for the EQIP are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year and are open to all eligible agricultural producers.  There is usually just one application deadline date each year in New Mexico, but that is subject to change and would be announced on this web site.  The current application deadline date for most of the various EQIP components, initiatives, etc. is January 16, 2015.  For a list of the sign-up options and application deadline dates please click on the EQIP sign-Up Options.

Applying for assistance, application evaluation and plan/contract development can be a lengthy process requiring several weeks to several months.  It is important to keep in mind that any work begun or completed on the land offered for a contract before a fully approved contract is executed is not eligible for financial assistance, unless an approved waiver is secured in advance.

Forms

The application form is the NRCS-CPA-1200.  The NRCS-CPA-1202-CPC appendix provides the terms and conditions of an EQIP contract.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to thoroughly review both documents before application.  The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.

NRCS application forms can also be found on the USDA Service Center EForms Web Site.

How to Apply

Applicants may complete and submit the NRCS-CPA-1200 to their local NRCS Field Office, in person, by fax, by regular mail or by email.  Please click on NRCS Field Offices for the location of the office nearest you.

Application Evaluation and Selection

EQIP applications are evaluated and ranked for available funding based on local state and national program priorities.  Information obtained by the Field Office about the applicants agricultural operations through existing information, on-site visits, and/or personal communications and what the applicant would like to accomplish through an EQIP contact are applied to a ranking criteria tool.  This results in a numerical score. Applicants compete for available EQIP funds within a specific fund account, such as irrigated crop or grazed range or forested land, etc.  The ranking criteria is slightly different from one Field Office area to another.  To view ranking criteria for each Field Office, visit the  2015 New Mexico EQIP - Application Evaluation and Selection Web site.

Producer and Land Eligibility Requirements (7 CFR Part 1466.6)

Program participation is voluntary.  An applicant must develop and EQIP plan of operations for the eligible land to be treated that serves as the basis for the EQIP contract.  Under EQIP, NRCS provides its participants with technical assistance and payments to plan and apply needed conservation practices.

To be eligible to participate in EQIP an application must:

  1. Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions found at part 12 of this title;
  2. Must be a producer as determined by NRCS;
  3. Have control of the land for the term of the proposed contract unless an exception is made by the Chief in the case of land administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Indian Lands, or other instances in which the Chief determines that there is sufficient assurance of control;
    1. The Chief may determine the that land administered by BIA, Indian Land, or other such circumstances provides sufficient assurance of control, and
    2. If the applicant is a tenant of the land involved in agricultural production or forestry management, the applicant will provide the Chief with the written concurrence of the landowner in order to apply a structural practice’
  4. Agree to implement the EQIP plan of operations according to the provisions and conditions established in the EQIP contract, including the EQIP contract appendix;
  5. Submit and EQIP plan of operations or plan developed for the purposes of acquiring an air or water quality permit, provided these plans contain elements equivalent to those elements required by an EQIP plan of operations and are acceptable to NRCS as being consistent with the purposes of the program;
  6. Supply information, as required by NRCS, to determine eligibility for the program, including but not limited to, information to verify the applicant’s status as a limited resource beginning farmer or rancher, and payment eligibility (average adjusted gross income) as established by 7 CFR part 1400;
  7. Comply with applicable registration and reporting requirements of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-282, as amended), and 2 CFR parts 25 and 170; and
  8. Provide a list of all member of the legal entity and embedded entities along with members’ tax identifications numbers and percentage interest in the entity.

Eligible land includes cropland, grassland, rangeland, pasture, NIPF, and other land on which agricultural products, livestock, or forest-related products are produced and resource concerns may be addressed.  Other agricultural lands include cropped woodland, marshes, incidental areas included in the agricultural operation, and other types of agricultural land used for production of livestock.  However, land may be considered for enrollment in EQIP only if NRCS determines that the land is:

  1. Privately owned land; or
  2. Publicity owned land where:
    1. The land is a working component of the participant’s agricultural and forestry operations.
    2. The participant has control of the land for the term of the contract, and
    3. The conservation practices to be implemented on the public land are necessary and will contribute to an improvement in the identified resource concern; or
  3. Indian Land.

Participant Responsibilities

An EQIP participants responsibilities are considerable.  The best place to learn about these responsibilities is to thoroughly review the NRCS-CPS-1200 application form and the NRCS-CPA-1202-CPC appendix which sets forth the terms and conditions of the contract.  NRCS Field Office staff will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

More Information

The following document requires Adobe Acrobat.

Links

Previous New Mexico EQIP Web Pages

Contacts

Please contact the District Conservationist in the USDA Service Center nearest the location of your property.

Michael Neubeiser
State Program Manager
Phone:  (505) 761-4419
E-mail: Michael.Neubeiser@nm.usda.gov