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FY13 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

About the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was reauthorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Farm Bill) to provide a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land. Additional information about this environmental improvement program can be found on the NRCS National Website. For application assistance and sign up deadlines please contact your local NRCS office.


EQIP Signup Opportunities in Utah

Those who are interested in EQIP should work with the local NRCS office to identify and plan the conservation measures you want on your land. Those who have previously developed a conservation plan with NRCS will already have the conservation planning step completed. Those who consider applying for EQIP for the first time should schedule a meeting with NRCS to discuss their options and develop a conservation plan before moving forward.

Local NRCS conservationists will help you develop a conservation plan, identify conservation measures and pursue funding through one of the EQIP signup options available in Utah.


2013 Regular EQIP (Click here for application cutoff:  2013 Fund Pools)

EQIP applications may be submitted at any time with your local USDA Service Center.


2013 Seasonal High Tunnels (Click here for application cutoff:  2013 Fund Pools)

Natural resource benefits from using tunnel structures may include: improved plant quality, improved soil quality, and improved water quality through methods such as reduced nutrient and pesticide transport. Eligible agricultural producers may apply for EQIP financial assistance for high tunnels, but only for manufactured tunnels covering up to 2,178 square feet (approximately 30 ft x 72 ft) per farming operation. The high tunnel will have an expected practice life of 4 years.

EQIP High Tunnel Payment Schedule (PDF):  High_Tunnels (95 KB)


2013 Sage Grouse Initiative (Click here for application cutoff:  2013 Fund Pools)

Utah landowners within several western slope counties are encouraged to visit with their local NRCS field office and inquire about developing a conservation plan that when implemented will help reduce the threats to the Sage Grouse.  NRCS will utilize its Environmental Quality Incentive’s Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentive’s Program (WHIP) to implement the initiative and although a conservation plan isn’t required for enrollment, all applications which include an NRCS approved conservation plan, will receive priority status for enrollment consideration.

Sage-Grouse Habitat Improvement Initiative (EQIP)


2013 Organic Initiative (Click here for application cutoff:  2013 Fund Pools)

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Utah has funding available to assist organic farming operations and individuals transitioning to organic farming.

The 2008 Farm Bill highlights the availability of financial and technical assistance to help producers of all commodities meet their conservation goals, including producers transitioning to organic farming and currently certified organic producers. The assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the EQIP program helps producers plan and implement conservation practices to allow their organic operations to be environmentally sustainable. EQIP is primarily used to provide financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices to address soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources. A new organic provision targets organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production:

  • Assistance is for conservation practices related to organic production
  • Assistance is limited to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six year period
  • Producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP) or carry out practices consistent with an OSP
  • Producers must be pursing an organic certification or in compliance with their organic certification

Organic Initiative EQIP
 

2013 Energy Initiative (Click here for application cutoff:  2013 Fund Pools)

Conservation funding for energy-related conservation activities is available to producers in Utah. Financial and technical assistance is available through the On-Farm Energy Audit/Implementation Initiative under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Energy Initiative (EQIP)


2013 Water Quality Initiative (Click here for application cutoff:  2013 Fund Pools)

A program under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) through which NRCS will assist producers to improve water quality on their farm or ranch in a priority watersheds.

Water Quality Initiative


2013 Conservation Innovation Grants

CIG is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or non-governmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals.

Conservation Innovation Grants


EQIP Funding Selection and Priorities (Click here for application cutoff:  2013 Fund Pools)

Priorities for EQIP funding are established with input from Utah’s strong conservation partnership based on locally identified natural resource needs consistent with state and national EQIP priorities. Local Work Groups convened by local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) provide advice to NRCS about natural resource issues and priorities within their counties. EQIP applications are evaluated based on these county priorities and are then prioritized for funding. Applications that best address natural resources as described in the ranking criteria are prioritized for funding.

Some funds are distributed via “state fund pools” to address animal waste, air quality, wildlife issues, etc. Funds are also distributed to counties, to address resource concerns on Pasture and Rangeland, Dry Cropland/Hayland, Irrigated Cropland/Hayland, Riparian areas, and non-industrial private forestland.

Click here for the 2013 Fund Pools


How EQIP Works in Utah

Utah State NRCS supports the locally led conservation effort in the delivery of conservation programs. The USDA local work group (LWG) serves as the starting point for the development and coordination of USDA programs to provide an integrated approach for addressing local natural resource concerns.

The LWG ensures that a conservation needs assessment is developed using community stakeholders input. Utilizing the assessment process, the LWG identifies resource concerns, recommends practices, priorities, payment rates, cost-share levels and funding needs. The group assists in multi-county coordination when resource concerns will be addressed across county boundaries.

The LWG information is solicited by the District Conservationists each year. Following the submittals of LWG proposals, the Soil Conservation Districts convene LWG meetings to review requests and make recommendations on ranking criteria, eligible practices and funding. These recommendations are given to the DC. The DC reviews these with the State Conservationist.

The State Conservationist conducts State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) Meeting and Tribal STAC meetings to gather input from all agriculture groups, federal, state and local agencies. Recommendations on what are Utah’s resource concerns and methods to treat them are submitted to the State Conservationist. The State Conservationist appoints subcommittees to provide specific solutions to specific resource concerns.

EQIP Assistance - Technical and Financial

EQIP assistance helps landowners and agricultural operators implement measures to improve water quality, conserve ground and surface water, reduce soil erosion from cropland and forestland, and improve grazing lands. EQIP assistance also helps people enhance riparian and aquatic areas, improve air quality, and address wildlife issues.

EQIP can provide financial and technical assistance to plan and design such measures as:

  • Irrigation and water management, including such items as: efficient irrigation upgrades, irrigation scheduling
  • Grazing management: fencing, stockwater systems, range and pasture planting
  • Nutrient management: manure storage structures, planned nutrient applications, soil testing
  • Pest management: crop and pest monitoring activities, planned pesticide applications
  • Forest management: tree planting, pre-commercial thinning
  • Erosion control: grade control structures, diversions, water and sediment control basins
  • Wildlife habitat enhancement: stream buffers, fish passage, upland wildlife habitat establishment

These and the many other measures included in EQIP can help producers accomplish a variety of operational goals, which may include:

  • Improvements to the long-term productivity and sustainability of an agricultural operation;
  • Improved condition of crops and forage for livestock;
  • Reduced costs for fuel, labor, fertilizers and pesticides;
  • Energy efficient systems and field operations; and
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements.

Technical Assistance: Those who submit an application and are accepted into EQIP may receive technical assistance to plan conservation measures. Through EQIP, NRCS provides or covers the cost of professional technical services to develop conservation measures. This includes:

  • On-site assessments
  • Site-specific practice and management plans
  • Engineering designs

Practice Payments: EQIP participants may also receive practice payments to offset the costs associated with the installation, cost of materials, and/or income lost with adoption of conservation measures. Practices that may be funded through EQIP are listed in the EQIP Practice Payment List below. These include measures such as:

  • Manure management practices,
  • Efficient irrigation upgrades,
  • Forest stewardship plans and management practices,
  • Erosion control and buffers,
  • Range and pasture planting,
  • Fencing and stockwater,
  • and many other items.


2013 EQIP Practice Payment Lists

The following are lists of practices and associated payment rates for each of the EQIP sign-up options.

Program Benefits for Historically Underserved Clients: EQIP provides enhanced benefits to historically underserved program participants. Historically underserved refers to groups that have not participated in or that in the past have received limited benefits through USDA programs. Click here for more information about historically underserved clients.

The document below requires Adobe Reader.

Regular EQIP EQIP (PDF, 380 KB) EQIP_HUS (PDF, 380 KB)
EQIP Organic Initiative Organic_Initiative (PDF, 100 KB) Organic_Initiative_HUS (PDF, 100 KB)
EQIP High Tunnel Initiative High_Tunnel_Initiative (PDF, 95 KB) Coming Soon
EQIP Energy Initiative Energy_Initiative (PDF, 111 KB) Coming Soon
EQIP Water Quality Initiative Coming Soon Coming Soon
EQIP Fire Rehab Fire Rehab (PDF, 48 KB) Coming Soon


EQIP Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in EQIP, an applicant must be an individual, entity or joint operation that meets the following criteria:

  1. The applicant is an agricultural producer that is engaged in livestock or agricultural production, OR the applicant is a private, non-industrial forest landowner.
  2. The applicant has an interest in the operation associated with the land being offered for enrollment in EQIP.
  3. The applicant has control of the land for the term of the proposed contract.
  4. The applicant is in compliance with the provisions for protecting the interests of tenants and sharecroppers, including the provisions for sharing EQIP payments on a fair and equitable basis.
  5. The applicant is in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation compliance provisions.
  6. The applicant is within appropriate payment limitation requirements.
  7. The applicant is in compliance with AGI requirements.


EQIP Funding Selection and Priorities

Priorities for EQIP funding are established with input from Utah’s strong conservation partnership based on locally identified natural resource needs consistent with state and national EQIP priorities. Local Work Groups convened by local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) provide advice to NRCS about natural resource issues and priorities within their counties. EQIP applications are evaluated based on these county priorities and are then prioritized for funding. Applications that best address natural resources as described in the ranking criteria are prioritized for funding.

Some funds are distributed via “state fund pools” to address animal waste, air quality, wildlife issues, etc. Funds are also distributed to counties, to address resource concerns on Pasture and Rangeland, Dry Cropland/Hayland, Irrigated Cropland/Hayland, Riparian areas, and non-industrial private forestland.

Click here for the 2013 Ranking Priorities (Coming Soon)


Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.

Fact Sheet (PDF, 1 MB)

If your business or organization plans to apply for conservation program or grant funding through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, or another federal agency, you may need to request an identification number through the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS).

Obtaining a DUNS number is free for all entities doing business with the federal government. This includes grant and cooperative agreement applicants and prospective applicants and federal contractors. The process to request a DUNS number takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

Telephone Instructions: Contact D&B through their toll-free phone number at: 1-866-705-5711.

On the web: http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do


For More Information

NRCS National EQIP Website


Contact

Tim Julander, Program Specialist
Phone: 801-524-4561
Email: tim.julander@ut.usda.gov

Pedro Ramos, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
Phone:  801-524-4552
Email:  pedro.ramos@ut.usda.gov


Archived EQIP Information