The Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) helps agricultural producers manage financial risk through diversification, marketing or natural resource conservation practices.
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How AMA Works in Pennsylvania
Applicants must have an interest in an agricultural operation, either as a producer of crops or livestock, or as an owner of land on which an eligible agricultural operation exists. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm lands, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
AMA participants must comply with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitations (the three-year AGI cannot exceed $900,000.
Priority is given to applicants who have a current conservation plan. The conservation plan should describe the practices that will be included on the contract and the schedule for implementing the practices.
Preference is given to applicants who can complete work within 1-3 years.
Participants agree to maintain conservation practices for the practice life span, which may exceed the length of the contract.
Conservation practices must meet or exceed Pennsylvania NRCS standards and specifications.
How to Apply
Applications are accepted by NRCS on a continuous basis throughout the year with cutoff dates to evaluate, rank, prioritize and select applicants. Applicants submit the NRCS-CPA-1200 Conservation Program form and Appendix in person, e-mailed (must include signature), faxed, or mailed to a local USDA Service Center. (See "Find Your Local Service Center" at the bottom of this page.)
Other documents that may need to be filed are listed in Part 1 of the contract Appendix (Appendix to Form NRCS-CPA-1200 Conservation Program Contract.) These documents, if not already filed, include self-certification with compliance with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) provisions (current version, if determined to be needed); and for applicants applying as a legal entity or joint operation, listing of members associated with the business using either a current Members Information form (CCC901) or Farm Operating Plan for an Entity (CCC902).
Applicants who wish to designate a Power of Attorney to act on their behalf can use the joint FSA/NRCS Power of Attorney form (FSA-211) to identify people who can sign application and contract documents on their behalf.
Forms are available online at USDA Service Center Agencies eForms or at a local USDA Service Center.
There is no due date to apply but farmers are encouraged to apply early to increase likelihood of being offered a contract (See Evaluation and Ranking, below). Financial assistance eligibility is contingent on the producer not starting the practice before having a signed and approved EQIP contract.
Applicants are asked to identify the practice(s) for which they are requesting assistance and the farm(s) on which the proposed practices would be installed.
Evaluation and Ranking
Requests for assistance normally exceed available funding. A screening and ranking process is used to evaluate each application to determine which applications provide the most benefits and can be offered funding assistance. Applicants with existing conservation program contacts that are out of compliance or behind schedule are assigned a low priority and not further ranked until other eligible applications are considered.
The review of applications will begin with applications received by the end of current signup cycle and will continue as long as funds are available. Because of the large demand for EQIP assistance, funds are sometimes expended after a few ranking cycles.
AMA funding is not sufficient to support a statewide signup; therefore Pennsylvania NRCS targets different areas of the state on a rotating basis. Applications from other areas will be accepted but will not be included in the initial evaluation process unless funds cannot be used in the target area.
For additional information visit the NRCS National AMA web page.
Sign Up for E-mail updates on AMA and other NRCS Programs
Assistant State Resource Conservationist for Programs
Ready to get started?
Contact your local service center to start your application.
How to Get Assistance
Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?
Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.
NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.
We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:
- To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
- To meet other eligibility certifications.
Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.
Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.
As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:
- An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
- A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
- A farm tract number.
If you don’t have a farm tract number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm tract number if you’re interested in financial assistance.
NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants.
If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.
Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.