North Carolina Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP)
The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) is a voluntary conservation initiative that enables the use of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) along with resources of eligible partners to provide financial and technical assistance to owners and operators of agricultural lands.
Eligible producers who participate in a project area identified in an approved partner agreement, and have an active application EQIP program application, may be approved for assistance.
Under AWEP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) enters into partnership agreements with eligible entities that want to promote ground and surface water conservation or improve water quality on agricultural lands. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated the authority for AWEP to the NRCS Chief.
- Section 2510 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA) establishes the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) and EQIP (16 U.S.C. 3839aa and 7 CFR 1466).
- Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1935, 16 U.S.C. 590a et seq.
During fiscal year 2009, NRCS will make AWEP funds available to owners and operators of agricultural lands who participate in approved AWEP project areas.
As authorized by Congress, this is not a grant program to eligible partners. This is a program whereby approved, eligible partners will enter into multi-year agreements with NRCS to promote ground and surface water conservation, or improve water quality on eligible agricultural lands.
The intent of AWEP is for the Federal government to leverage investment in natural resources conservation along with services and resources of other eligible partners.
Eligible partners include, but are not limited to:
- Federally recognized Indian Tribes
- units of local government
- agricultural or silvicultural associations or other groups of such producers such as
- an irrigation association
- an agricultural land trust
- or other nongovernmental organization experience working with agricultural producers.
Owners and operators engaged in livestock or agricultural production are eligible for the program. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands.
In order for a producer to be considered for financial assistance through a AWEP partner agreement, a program application must have been submitted. When announced and available refer to Fact Sheets and visit the NRCS EQIP program website for information how and when to apply. For more detail regarding eligibility and application requirements contact your local NRCS field office.
The 2008 Farm Bill provides $73 million for fiscal year 2009, $73 million for fiscal year 2010, $74 million for fiscal year 2011, and $60 million for fiscal year 2012 and each year thereafter for AWEP.