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What does the 2008 Farm Bill offer?
The 2008 Farm Bill offers America’s agricultural producers and private landowners more assistance than ever to voluntarily conserve natural resources on privately owned lands. These programs provide funding to assist producers in developing and implementing conservation plans on their land. The Farm Bill also offers special program opportunities for historically underserved individuals and groups. More information is available at the NRCS Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers web page.
How do I apply for NRCS conservation programs?
Learn what steps you will need to take to prepare for, and submit, your application to become an NRCS conservation program participant.
Tell me more about NRCS programs.
Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Compliance
Producers participating in most programs administered by NRCS and the Farm Service Agency (FSA) must abide by certain conditions on any land owned or farmed that is highly erodible or that is considered a wetland. Read more about Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and wetland determinations, and your responsibilities to comply with the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended.
Conservation Technical Assistance Programs and Activities
Financial Assistance Programs and Initiatives
NRCS offers voluntary programs to eligible landowners and agricultural producers that provide financial and technical assistance to help manage natural resources in a sustainable manner. Through these programs, the agency approves contracts to provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns or opportunities to help save energy, improve soil, water, plants, air, animal, and related resources on agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land.
Financial assistance programs include:
Agricultural Management Assistance Program (AMA) - This program helps reduce the economic risk to farms through new irrigation, transition to organic pest management, or production diversification.
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) - This program is 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 Stewardship Program (CSP) - This is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operations.
Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) - This program helps promote farm and forest health by enhancing the environmental quality of soil, water, air, plants, and animals.
Easements programs include:
Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP) - This is a voluntary program that protects agricultural lands by limiting non-agricultural uses.
Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) - This program promotes the protection and restoration of wetlands through the purchase of easements and enhancement activities.
Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) - This program provides funding to restore and protect pasturelands and certain other lands while maintaining the areas in grass.
Watershed programs include:
Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) - This program, set up by Congress to respond to emergencies created by natural disasters, is designed to relieve imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fire, windstorms, and other natural occurrences.
Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention - The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (PL 83-566) authorizes NRCS to cooperate with states and local agencies to carry out works of improvement for soil conservation and for other purposes including flood prevention; conservation, development, utilization and disposal of water; and conservation and proper utilization of land.
Regional Financial Assistance Programs
Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Verification Process
The 2008 Farm Bill provides that individuals and legal entities with average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in excess of a specified average AGI limitation are ineligible for payments subject to that limitation. USDA has worked with the IRS to develop an electronic information exchange process strictly for the purpose of average AGI verification. The IRS requires written consent from the individual or legal entity to provide USDA verification of the average AGI for that individual or legal entity. This written consent is now provided in Adjusted Gross Income Form (CCC933). The CCC933 includes both the Self-Certification of Compliance with AGI guidelines and authority to request verification of the same from the IRS This form MUST be filed with the Farm Service Agency as part of the application process.
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