Florida NRCS continues to ensure agricultural farmers and ranchers affected by recent hurricanes receive technical and financial assistance as field visits continue.
From floods to drought, fire or hurricanes, Florida NRCS provides disaster recovery assistance to farmers, ranchers, landowners and communities through the following programs:
EQIP - Environmental Quality Incentives Program Emergency Assistance
NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural and forest producers to improve or protect natural resource conditions while also improving agricultural operations. NRCS can provide payments, through conservation program contracts, for EQIP conservation practices to help agricultural landowners and producers address disaster related resource concerns on their land.
To expedite Hurricane Ian disaster recovery, NRCS offered early start waivers in EQIP emergency declaration counties, to allow commencement of key conservation practices prior to conservation program contract approval. The deadline for interested landowners and producers to sign up was November 15, 2022.
An NRCS Disaster Assistance Hotline phone number (352-338-9500) and email (SM.NRCS.FL.DISASTERINFO@USDA.GOV) were set up to assist interested farmers, producers and landowners in requesting an application if they were unable to reach their local NRCS office.
Producers were asked to file an EQIP application and a waiver before beginning an EQIP conservation practice. EQIP conservation practices offered for financial assistance for the early-start waiver are listed below:
Practice Code Practice Name and Units
325 High Tunnel System (sf)
326 Clearing and Snagging (ac)
327 Conservation Cover (ac)
340 Cover Crop (ac)
342 Critical Area Planting (ac)
368 Emergency Animal Mortality Management (amu)
382 Fence (ft)
384 Woody Residue Treatment (ac)
484 Mulching (ac)
500 Obstruction Removal (no)
595 Pest Management Conservation System (ac)
EWP recovery projects begin with a local sponsor or legal subdivision of state or tribal government. Eligible sponsors include cities, counties, towns, conservation districts, or any federally-recognized Native American tribe or tribal organization. Interested public and private landowners must work through a sponsor.
Hurricane Ian made landfall early Wednesday afternoon on September 28, 2022, near Charlotte Harbor area in southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm – nearly a Category 5, with winds of 155 mph. Most of the southwest coast of Florida, experienced and life-threatening risk from catastrophic storm surges, wind, and flooding. The storm moved slowly over the peninsula and lingered over central Florida into the early morning hours of Thursday, September 29, 2022, dumping heavy rains with wind gusts up to 50mph. Hurricane winds extended out 45 miles from the center as it made landfall. The northeast area of the state, near St. John’s River, was also impacted heavily as the storm continued its northeast trajectory across the state.as a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph.
Hurricane Nicole made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just south of Vero Beach, Florida, at 3:00 a.m. Thursday, November 10, packing maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Later becoming a tropical storm, the system brought heavy rains and strong winds across central Florida. Landing on Florida’s eastern shores, Nicole is the first hurricane to hit the US in November in nearly 40 years.
Florida EQIP Program Contact:
Amber Till, Assistant State Conservationist for Financial Assistance Programs
Florida NRCS State Office
Phone: (352) 338-9515
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.