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FY10 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

FY10 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) - Utah


Applications due February 15, 2010 for Conservation Funding

Utah agricultural landowners and operators are encouraged to submit 2010 applications by February 15 to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for participation in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program. These programs are offered through a continuous signup but NRCS periodically makes funding selections as program dollars allow.

EQIP, WHIP and AMA were originally established under the 1996 Farm Bill and are reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. These programs provide technical and financial assistance to landowners to voluntarily address soil, water and related natural resource concerns on agricultural lands. Congress included new provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill setting aside 5 percent of EQIP financial assistance dollars to assist beginning farmers and another 5 percent to assist socially disadvantaged farmers.

Historically underserved producers, such as a member of a Socially Disadvantaged Group (American Indians, Blacks, Asians, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics), Beginning or Limited Resource Farmers, and Indian tribes may be eligible for up to 90 percent of the average cost of practices.


About the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that provides assistance to landowners and agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, farmers and ranchers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land. EQIP is re-authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill.

With EQIP, NRCS provides funding and expertise for measures to protect natural resources while ensuring sustainable production on farms, ranches and working forest lands.

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.

Sign-Up Option Description 2010 Application Cutoff
Regular EQIP EQIP applications may be submitted at any time with your local USDA Service Center. For more information, see “Technical and Financial Assistance” below. February 15, 2010
EQIP Organic Initiative Special EQIP funding is available to organic growers and those transitioning to organic production. March 26, 2010
Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) Through AWEP, entities such as federally recognized Indian Tribes, States, units of local government, agricultural or silvicultural associations, or other such groups may propose partnership agreements to work with NRCS to deliver EQIP funding to landowners and growers in a targeted area. TBA


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.