WHIP Application Process Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
I have decided to apply for the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), now what?
WHIP is a continuous sign-up program that allows landowners or operators to apply for financial and technical assistance for specific conservation practices. Applications can be submitted any time. Specific application cutoff dates are set to consider applications for funding. If you apply after the application deadline, your application will automatically be deferred to the next funding period. Contact the service center in the county in which you own or operate land.
To apply for WHIP you must first establish or update your farm records at the Farm Services Agency (FSA). You must submit the following forms to your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office:
For all applicants:
1. CCC-933 – Average Adjusted Gross Income
2. AD-1026 – Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification.
For Entities only (not those applying as individuals):
3. CCC-902 - Farm Operating Plan (if FSA programs will be utilized) - OR -
4. CCC-901 – Membership Information form (if only NRCS programs will be utilized)
In addition, applicants must provide the following to NRCS and FSA:
Provide social security number or tax identification number*.
Submit proof of agricultural production.
Provide a map and a legal description of the parcels intended to be enrolled in a USDA program.
Provide proof of ownership or control of the land to be enrolled in the WHIP program (to NRCS). If a current producer wishes to enroll in another county, the information in the data base will be added to the new county at your request. Contact Farm Services Agency (FSA) in the new county and request the FSA staff to transfer the original information.
Next, complete and sign an NRCS-CPA-1200 Conservation Program Application and submit to your local NRCS office along with the items listed above (proof of agricultural production, map and legal description, proof of ownership or control of land).
To find the form online go to the USDA Forms web site, and type in the Keyword box: "NRCS-CPA-1200." This will give you the most current version (see screenshot below).
After I have submitted my application and established my farm records, what do I do next?
In order to be eligible to participate in WHIP, you must be determined to be an eligible applicant, and the land determined to be eligible, by NRCS. NRCS staff will work with you to determine your eligibility for WHIP.
Be a person, legal entity, Indian Tribe, or joint operation. (Federal, State and local governments and subdivision thereof are not eligible applicants for WHIP.)
Have control of the land for the term of the proposed contract.
Be in compliance with provisions for protecting the interests of tenants and sharecroppers.
Be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation compliance provisions, adjusted gross income requirements, and payment limitation requirements.
The land must:
Be agricultural land, non-industrial private forest land, or other land on which agricultural products, livestock or forest-related products are produced.
Be privately owned or Indian land. Publicly owned land may be eligible if it is a working component of the participant’s agricultural operation. Further information is available.
Publicly owned land is not eligible. (Exception: Trust land owned in fee title by a State or subdivision and held under long-term lease by a person or non-governmental entity, if determined eligible by the NRCS Chief).
Have permission of the landowner to install a structural practice on land not owned by the applicant.
Have an identified resource concern that may be addressed.
If you are not determined eligible by the time applications are selected for funding, you will be notified and given an opportunity to update your information for the next ranking period.
I have been determined eligible for WHIP, what's next?
A conservation planner will work with you to identify your resource concerns and treatment needed.
NRCS will rank the applications.
After the ranking period closes and the applications are selected for funding, you will be notified of application status by mail. If approved, call NRCS to make an appointment to develop your plan and contract. All contract payments are through direct deposit. An SF-1199A - Direct Deposit form must be filed. You must provide your bank account and routing number to receive payments through electronic fund transfer.
NRCS will notify you when your contract is ready to sign. Contact NRCS to make an appointment to review and sign the contract.
My contract was approved. Now what?
NRCS will provide all the practice specifications, designs and other necessary guidance to install the planned practices.
When the practices are completed, contact NRCS to make an appointment to certify the practices on the land.
After NRCS certifies a practice, you will sign a payment application which will then be processed by NRCS. An SF-1199A - Direct Deposit form must be filed. You must verify your bank account and routing number at the time each payment application.
Contact your local NRCS Field Office for assistance.
*Note: the WHIP payments you may receive from your contract will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The name and tax ID number you use for your application must match your information on file with the IRS. The payments made will accrue to the tax ID you provide. A 1099 will be issued to you each year by the National Finance Center (NFC).