How EQIP Works in Texas
EQIP is a continuous sign-up program that allows landowners or operators to apply for financial assistance in order to plan and apply certain conservation practices. Higher priority will be given to those applications that address national, state and local priorities and provide higher cost efficiency.
The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas supports the locally led process through local work groups and provides a portion of each years’ EQIP funding to to meet local resource needs. The State Technical Committee provides input in determining the conservation practices that will be eligible for financial assistance to treat the identified resource concerns.
In Texas, financial assistance funds are used to address the National, Statewide and local high priority resource concerns identified through the locally led process. Landowners and operators will work with local field office staff to select the suite of conservation practices that best meets the resource needs and is the least cost alternative.
Payments for installed conservation practice swill be made in accordance with NRCS conservation practice standards. The statewide payment rate for each practice is on a per unit basis. The payment schedule for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (SDAFR) and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (BFR) are set at higher levels than the standard rates.
A Conservation Plan of Operations will be developed to support the EQIP application and contract if accepted. The minimum contract period will be one year following implementation of the last conservation practice but cannot exceed 10 years. Technical assistance will be provided by NRCS or, if desired, by a private Technical Service Provider (TSP) funded by NRCS if funds are available.
In order to be considered an agricultural producer eligible for EQIP, the applicant must be able to show that they have a vested interest in an operation that can potentially produce an annual value of $1,000 of agricultural products. Agricultural producers of non-industrial private forest land are exempt from this requirement.
There are, however, circumstances that may limit an individual’s or entity’s participation; these include:
Federal and state governments and political subdivisions thereof, are not eligible.
The applicant must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions.
The individual or entity may not be eligible due to Adjusted Gross Income provisions.
In order to be considered for EQIP funding the applicant must be determined to be an eligible producer by the NRCS. The land offered for EQIP must also be determined eligible by NRCS. Eligible land is land that has a resource concern identified by a certified conservation planner that can be addressed through application of eligible conservation practices. The participant must complete and sign all necessary forms including the NRCS-CPA-1200.* Eligibility forms and documentation required by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) must be submitted to FSA prior to NRCS acceptance of the application. Payment eligibility is contingent on the producer not starting the practice prior to having an approved EQIP contract signed by the appropriate Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) representative unless granted prior approval by the NRCS State Conservationist.
* Applications are accepted year around and funding of applicants varies throughout the year.
Eligible persons may select to apply in any funding pool that provides them the best opportunity for funding and that will provide the assistance needed to address their resource concerns. The State Resource Concerns typically addressed each year are listed below.
Water Quantity – Brush Management
Water Quantity - Irrigation
Water and Air Quality - AFO/CAFO
Water Quality - South Central Texas
Plant Condition - Reforestation