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), US Military Veterans, 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 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 as determined by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Historically Underserved (Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers)
EQIP provides assistance for conservation concerns of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning and limited resource producers including Veteran Farmers which includes higher payment rates to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract. Texas is committed to reaching out to Historically Underserved individuals. See the national webpage, Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers for the NRCS definition of the Historically Underserved.
In order to be considered for EQIP funding the land must be linked to an eligible applicant must be determined by the Farm Services Agency to be an eligible producer by the NRCS. The land offered for EQIP must also be determined eligible by NRCS. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands. 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 has an active, eligible Farm and Tract as determined by Farm Service Agency (FSA) . The participant must complete and sign all necessary forms including the NRCS-CPA-1200 and any.* eligibility forms required by the FSA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in order to participate.
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. Typically, ranking pools are established by land use or a special initiative are.
* Applications are accepted year around and funding of applicants varies throughout the year.