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Golden Triangle Conversion of Expired CRP to Grazing Land TIP

October 27, 2023

This Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP) is available in Hill, Liberty, Toole, parts of Chouteau and Cascade Counties, Montana. TIPs are local-level Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) initiatives used by NRCS in Montana to guide implementation of locally developed Long Range County Plans

Project Description

County or Counties: Hill, Liberty, Toole, northeast Chouteau, and northern Cascade
Primary Resource Concern: Inadequate livestock water quantity, quality, and distribution
Time Frame: Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 through FY 2026

The primary goal of this TIP is to maintain expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in perennial vegetation. Over 250,000 acres of expired and expiring CRP are at high risk of being converted to annual cropland in Montana’s Golden Triangle region. We expect to transition about 20,000 acres of expired/expiring CRP to grazing land by incentivizing the installation of necessary grazing infrastructure (water, fences) and creating sustainable grazing plans.

Conservation Practices Offered

  • 533 Pumping Plant
  • 224 Aquifer Flow Test
  • 642 Water Well
  • 614 Watering Facility
  • 516 Livestock Pipeline
  • 382 Fence
  • 528 Prescribed Grazing

Detailed descriptions of these conservation practices can be found in the Field Office Technical Guide, Section 4 - Practice Standards and Supporting Documents.

Project Partners

  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Pheasants Forever
  • Prairie Pothole Joint Venture
  • World Wildlife Fund

When to Apply

Program applications are accepted on a continual basis. However, NRCS establishes application ranking dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. Applications received after the ranking date will be automatically deferred to the next funding period. See Montana Programs and Application Dates.

Local Ranking Questions

NRCS uses these questions to evaluate eligible applications for this project and to prioritize applications for potential funding.

  1. Are the majority of the offered acres expiring/expired CRP?
    • Yes
    • No
  2. How long will prescribed grazing (528) be contracted?
    • 3 years
    • 2 years
    • 1 year
    • Not contracted
  3. What is the highest cultivation risk within the offered acres? (Olimb and Robinson 2019)
    • Very High (>75, red)
    • High (50 to 75, yellow)
    • Low or Moderate (0 to 50, green)
  4. Based on the grassland bird map (see Fig. A3 in appendix), what is the highest number of priority grassland bird species core areas in the offered acres?
    • ≥ 2
    • 0 to 1

Additional Montana Information

Targeted Implementation Plans (TIPs) are local-level Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) initiatives used by NRCS in Montana to guide on-the-ground implementation of locally developed Long Range County Plans. These plans are part of the "Focused Conservation” strategy to guide Montana's EQIP investments. Learn more about Montana Focused Conservation and Targeted Implementation Plans.

Additional Information

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

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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.

how to get started

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 number.

If you don’t have a farm 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 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. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

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.