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Judith Basin and Fergus Counties Windbreak/Shelterbelt TIP

October 27, 2023

This Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP) is available in Judith Basin and Fergus Counties, Montana. 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.

Project Description

County or Counties: Judith Basin, Fergus
Primary Resource Concern: Terrestrial Habitat for Wildlife and invertebrates (Cover/shelter/food)
Time Frame: Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 through FY 2026

The overall goals of this Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP) are to assist producers in establishing living windbreaks and shelterbelts within or adjacent to cropland in the Fergus and Judith Basin Counties. This conservation project will create this vital habitat by planting trees on or adjacent to cropland to increase the productivity and health of the habitat. Improved plant diversity and quality and quantity of vegetation will provide food, cover, and shelter for wildlife. Plants will be selected and managed to maintain optimal productivity and health while providing snow catchment within and downwind of tree/shrub rows. Planners will encourage producers to plant food producing and pollinator friendly varieties of trees and shrubs.

Conservation Practices Offered

  • 490 Tree/Shrub Site Preparation
  • 380 Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment and Renovation
  • 382 Fence
  • 484 Mulching (Tree weed barrier Fabric)
  • 645 Upland Wildlife Habitat Management

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

Project Partners

  • Judith Basin Conservation District
  • Fergus Conservation District
  • Local Pheasants Forever Chapters

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 offered acres located adjacent to at least 60 acres or more of perennial contiguous grassland that provides cover and nesting habitat for grassland birds
  2. Is there active small grain crop land within 0.25 mile of the project that provide a food source for upland birds?
  3. Will this tree planting include new establishment of trees vs. renovation of old tree planting?
  4. Will the project include or add at least one species of fruiting trees/shrubs?
    Examples: American Plum, Nanking Cherry, Golden Current. 
  5. Will the project have at least 4 different species of trees and/or shrubs in the planting?
  6. Will the project be designed to provide drifted snow protections (Living Snow fences) with a designed density of more than 60 percent?

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.