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Nebraska Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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CURRENTLY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2017 FUNDING REQUESTS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE SEE YOUR LOCAL FIELD OFFICE.

WHAT IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INCENTIVES PROGRAM (EQIP)?

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers promote agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. By participating in EQIP, agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land.

WHAT ARE NATIONAL AND STATE PRIORITIES AND INITIATIVES?

Nationally NRCS has established priorities that are consistent with natural resource concerns. In addition to the national priorities, Nebraska has identified natural resource priorities.

There are national, state, regional and local initiatives supported by EQIP that may be available to producers engaged in specific kinds of agricultural activities, located in specific geographic locations, or opportunities associated with agency approved initiatives. In addition to the following EQIP initiatives, interested producers should also check with their local or State NRCS offices as described in the “how to apply for assistance” link above. 

National and Nebraska Priorities

National and Nebraska Initiatives

CLICK HERE for Nebraska EQIP Ranking Tools Interactive Map for the state, area and NRD-local initiatives

HOW DO I APPLY FOR EQIP?

EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis, however, NRCS establishes application "cut-off" or submission deadline dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers and submitted applications may be considered or evaluated in multiple funding pool opportunities. Here are some of the basic steps

To apply for EQIP, visit your local NRCS field office, in your local USDA Service Center.  

Download and complete the EQIP application form (Form NRCS-CPA-1200), to establish or update "farm records" with the Farm Service Agency, and submit all other required information to the local NRCS field office prior to application deadlines.

For more information on how to apply for Farm Bill programs visit the following website:www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted. To apply for EQIP, contact your local service center.

WHO CAN APPLY FOR EQIP?

Agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland and Tribes are eligible to apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands.

Applicants must:

  • Control or own eligible land
  • Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions
  • Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements
  • Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations or conservation plan – Link to What is a Conservation Plan
  • Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.

WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES IF I APPLY OR HAVE A PROJECT FUNDED?

Applicants are responsible for completing and filing all application and eligibility paperwork as required. If funded, participants are required to sign a contract and agree to implement the planned conservation practices to NRCS standards and specifications as scheduled. 10 top tips to be successful in EQIP.

WHAT IF I AM A SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED, BEGINNING, AND LIMITED RESOURCE FARMERS/RANCHERS, MILITARY VETERAN FARMERS?

The 2014 Farm Bill continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers and Veteran Farmers. For more information, please click on this link – SDBLRMVF information

HOW ARE PROJECTS RANKED?

Input from Outside Groups, Agencies, and Citizens: The list of eligible practices in Nebraska, payment rates and limits, eligible resource concerns, and state scoring criteria are developed based on input and recommendations from the State Technical Committee (STC). The STC is made up of representatives from various agribusinesses, producer groups, conservation organizations, and federal, state, and tribal government agency representatives.

The Local Work Group process and scoring criteria, are based on input from the counties in the Local Work Groups (LWG).

The priorities set at the state and county level are those that the STC and LWG respectively determined were of the greatest need and would have the greatest positive environmental impact. The scoring process at both the state and local level was developed in order to select those projects that would provide the greatest environmental benefit, and therefore provide the greatest public good.

NRCS funds Environmental Quality Incentives Program applications that do the most to improve the environment. Funding selections also consider the land use and the location of the applicants’ property. A ranking system gives points to each application. NRCS assigns points by looking at how much the land treatments in the application will improve natural resources. A local work group made up of conservationists, agricultural producers, and others working with natural resources in the community choose which natural resource problems are most important at the local level. The local points make up 25% of the total points used for ranking. The NRCS State Conservationist must approve local work group ranking points, the conservation practices selected to improve the natural resource problems, and the payment rates for conservation practices. The national and State NRCS offices chose which natural resource problems are the most important for the other 75 points used for ranking.

Links to Ranking Tools:

CLICK HERE for Nebraska EQIP Ranking Tools for Your Natural Resources Conservation District (NRD)-document.

CLICK HERE for Nebraska EQIP Ranking Tools for the following statewide initiatives-document:

  • High Tunnel System
  • On-Farm Energy
  • Organic Certified
  • Organic Transition
  • Nebraska Forestry Initiative
  • Prescribed Burn Plan
  • Tribal Initiative
  • Wildlife Initiative Nebraska (WIN)
  • Water Quality Degradation Excess Pathogens/Manure Animal Feeding Operation
  • State Water Quality Initiative - Long Pine Creek

CENTRAL AREA Ranking Tools

  • Cropland
  • Cropland - Irrigation/Central
  • Grassland

EAST AREA Ranking Tools

  • Cropland
  • Cropland
  • Grassland

WEST AREA Ranking Tools

  • Cropland
  • Cropland - Irrigation/West
  • Grassland

HOW ARE PROJECTS FUNDED?

Click here to view the Nebraska EQIP Payment Rates Summary

Payments received by producers through EQIP are subject to limitations established by legislative authority, as follows:

For “Post-2014 Farm Bill Contracts” the total amount of payments to a person or legal entity under this part may not exceed an aggregate of $450,000, directly or indirectly, for all contracts, enrolled in EQIP beginning February 7, 2014, through fiscal year 2018. Payments received for technical assistance are excluded from this limitation.

In additional to payment limitations, Farm Bill legislation also established that conservation program benefits are limited to individuals or entities with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $900,000 per year or less. The AGI determination is based on the year for which the conservation program contract is approved and the determination will apply for the entire term of the subject contract unless there is a change in contract participants or legal entity membership.

EQIP results data are now housed on the RCA Soil Viewer website, http://soils.usda.gov/survey/rca/viewer

Links to program-specific reports for FY2009 - 2012 are available on this page.

 

 

For more information visit your local USDA Service Center

 

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or www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.

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Contact:

Rich Torpin, Nebraska EQIP Program Manager
(402) 437-4061