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EQIP Eligibility

Applicant Eligibility for EQIP

To be eligible to participate in EQIP, an applicant must:

  • Be a person, legal entity, Indian Tribe, native corporation, or joint operation with signature authority.

  • Be engaged in agricultural production as defined in 7 CFR Part 1400, or have control of non-industrial private forestlands;

  • Establish farm records with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) which requires providing social security numbers for all applicants and members of an entity;

  • Have control of the land for the life of the proposed contract;

  • Receive written permission from the land owner if structural or vegetative practices will be installed on land that is not owned by the applicant.  In place of written permission, the landowner may be a contract participant with a payment share of 0%.

  • Be in compliance with the Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and Wetland Conservation (Swampbuster) compliance provisions of the 1985 Food Security Act; Conservation Compliance webpage

  • Have income levels that are below the adjusted gross income (AGI) requirements set by the 2014 Farm Bill and allow FSA to confirm AGI with the IRS;

  • Be within the payment limitations of the program;

  • Not be presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from covered transactions by any Federal department or agency; Have not within the three-year period preceding this agreement had a criminal conviction or civil judgment rendered against them for commission of fraud in connection with obtaining, attempting to obtain, or performing a public (Federal, State or local government) contract, including violation of Federal or State antitrust statutes or commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property; Are not presently indicted for or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity (Federal, State, or local) with commission of any of the offenses set forth above in Paragraph 14D(1)(b) of this certification; and Have not within the three-year period preceding this agreement had one or more public contracts (Federal, State or local) terminated for cause or default.

Federal, State, county, and local governments, and political subdivisions of State government (e.g., school districts, conservation districts, etc.) and entities with members of units of government or subdivisions, are not eligible for EQIP. However, land owned by these entities may be eligible if leased to an eligible applicant.

Land Eligibility for EQIP

Eligible land includes agricultural and non-industrial private forest land, and other land on which agricultural products, livestock, or forest-related products are produced and at least one eligible resource concern may be addressed. 

"Agricultural land" means land with the following uses or types of cover:

  • Crop: Land used primarily for the production and harvest of annual or perennial field, forage, food, fiber, horticultural, orchards, vineyards and/or energy crops.
  • Range: Land used primarily for the production of grazing animals. Includes native plant communities and those seeded to native or introduced species, or naturalized by introduced species, that are ecologically managed using range management principles.
  • Pasture: Lands compose of introduced or domesticated native forage species that is used primarily for the production of livestock. They receive periodic renovation and/or cultural treatments, such as tillage, fertilization, mowing, weed control, and may be irrigated. They are not in rotation with crops.
  • Forest: Land on which the primary vegetation is tree cover (climax, natural or introduced plant community) and use is primarily for production of wood products and/or non-timber forest products.
  • Farmsteads: Land used for facilities and supporting infrastructure where farming, forestry, animal husbandry and ranching activities are often initiated. This may include dwellings, equipment storage plus farm input and output storage and handling facilities. Also includes land dedicated to the facilitation and production of high intensity animal agriculture in a containment facility where daily nutritional requirements are obtained from other lands or feed sources.
  • Associated Ag Land: Land associated with farms and ranches that are not purposefully managed for food, forage or fiber and are typically associated with nearby production and/or conservation lands. This could include incidental areas such as: idle center pivot corners, odd areas, ditches and watercourses, riparian areas, field edges, seasonal and permanent wetlands, and other similar areas.

Land is not eligible for EQIP assistance if marijuana is grown on any part of the operation.

Land is eligible when the ownership is any of the following:

  1. Privately owned land where the deed does not prohibit implementation of conservation practices;
  2. Publicity owned land where:
    1. The land is a working component of the participant’s agricultural and forestry operations.
    2. The participant has control of the land for the term of the contract, and
    3. The conservation practices to be implemented on the public land are necessary and will contribute to an improvement in the identified resource concern;
  3. Indian Land.  Land that meets any of the following criteria is considered Indian land:
  1. Land held in trust by the United States for individual Indians or Indian Tribes.
  2. Land, the title to which is held by individual Indians or Indian Tribes subject to Federal restrictions against alienation or encumbrance.
  3. Land that is subject to rights of use, occupancy, and/or benefit of certain Indian Tribes.
  4. Land held in fee title by an Indian, Indian family, or Indian Tribe.

Land Already Enrolled in Conservation Programs

EQIP cannot provide financial assistance if financial assistance is provided for the same practice on the same land by another EQIP contract or USDA program.

Land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) may only be offered for enrollment in EQIP during the last year of the CRP contract, and no EQIP practice or activity may be implemented on that land until after the CRP contract has expired or has been terminated.

Land enrolled in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) under the wetland reserve easement component or its predecessor, the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), is not eligible for enrollment in EQIP.

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