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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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Introduction

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary and competitive program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years.  These contracts can provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related natural resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. EQIP may also help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations.

General EQIP Information

Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) EQIP Financial Assistance

In the Pacific Islands Area (PIA), EQIP is available in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands.

NRCS accepts EQIP applications year-round, but establishes application cutoff dates to make funding selections for eligible and ranked applications. 

To be ready for EQIP funding consideration, interested applicants will need to: (1) Address an identified resource concern (through a conservation plan), (2) Submit a completed application, (3) Meet program eligibility requirements, and (4) Approve their ‘EQIP Schedule of Operations’. The time needed to complete a conservation plan and process eligibility can vary from a few weeks to more than a month, depending on the complexity of the farming operation.

Please contact your local service center or NRCS office for assistance on the conservation planning process and program eligibility. 

The FY19 cutoff date to consider eligible and ranked applications for funding are:

  • December 21, 2018 (Local and PIA Fund Pools; Organic Initiative; Energy Initiative and National Water Quality Initiative, and Feral Swine)
  • February 15, 2019 (Two Lined Spittlebug Initiative and Working Lands for Wildlife - Nene Initiative)
  • March 1, 2019 (RCPP-EQIP; Other Partner Initiatives)

Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 EQIP Fund Pool Descriptions

Local Fund Pools (Competition is Within the Field Office Authorities)

Fund Pool/Program Name

Program Description

Cropland

Addresses natural resource concerns on cropped lands to deliver environmental conservation benefits.  Croplands may include orchards, truck crops, flowers, etc.

Conservation benefits may include improved water or air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat.

Each field office has a cropland fund pool.  Applicants compete within the local field office fund pool. 

Grazed Lands (Pasture & Range)

Addresses natural resource concerns on pasture and rangelands grazed by domestic livestock. 

Conservation benefits may include improved water or air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat.

Each field office has a grazed land fund pool.  Applicants compete within the local field office fund pool. 

 

PIA Fund Pools (Competition is PIA-Wide in Each Fund Pool)

Fund Pool/Program Name

Program Description

Farmsteads/Animal Feeding Operations (PDF; 10 KB)

Provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns on farmstead areas with animal feeding operations.  Applicants must have a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) prior to obligation and meet all state, federal and local regulations.

Wildlife (PDF; 17 KB)

 

Provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for on all eligible lands to create, restore, or protect wildlife habitat.  The wildlife habitat will be species specific. 

Forestlands (PDF; 11 KB)

 

Provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices to improve native forest ecosystems.  This fund pool is limited to forest lands suitable for growing trees.

High Tunnel System (PDF; 9 KB)

The purpose of the “High Tunnel System” conservation practice is to assist producers to extend the growing season for high-value crops in an environmentally safe manner.  The practice has the potential to assist producers to address resource concerns by improving plant quality, improving soil quality, and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport.

  Cropland Soil Health Initiative (PDF; 9 KB) Provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices to improve soil health on cropland. 

 

National EQIP Initiatives

Fund Pool/Program Name

Program Description

National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)

Provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for agricultural producers to address specific water quality natural resource concerns.  Applicants must be in an approved watershed on Hawaii County.  All agricultural land uses may qualify for the NWQI.

Competition is within each listed watershed.

Visit the Hilo Bay - National Water Quality Initiative webpage.

National Organic Initiative

 

Provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for organic producers and those transitioning to organic production to address natural resource concerns. It may assist growers meet requirements related to National Organic Program (NOP) requirements.  This initiative has annual and overall payment limitations.

Visit the Organic Initiative webpage.

On-Farm Energy Initiative (PDF; 11 KB)

Enables the producer to identify ways to conserve energy on the farm through development of Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) also known as an on-farm energy audit; and by providing financial and technical assistance to help the producer implement various conservation practices recommended in these on-farm energy audits.

 

Partner Initiatives

Fund Pool/Program Name

Program Description

  Working Lands for Wildlife - Nene Initiative

 (PDF; 11 KB)
This project is part of the Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) partnership, a collaborative approach to conserve habitat on working lands. WLFW provides technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

RCPP-EQIP FY19 (PDF; 13 KB)

  • DLNR's Hawaii Watershed Initiative
This partnership program is available on watershed partnership areas on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, and Lanai. The natural resource concerns will address protection and enhancement of Threatened and Endangered wildlife habitat, water quality improvement, reduce soil erosion and invasive vegetative species on high priority forest lands. Monitoring is a requirement of those selected for the program.

FY 19 Feral Swine Management Pilot (PDF; 11 KB)

This pilot is offered on the island of Hawaii and Guam. This program will address restoration of agricultural land (includes non-industrial private forest land) due to feral swine damage to natural resources.  An integrated and coordinate approach to restore and protect natural resources will be used with the assistance of local APHIS –Wildlife Services staff or other partner to assist with the control plan.  NRCS provides financial assistance for cameras, monitoring and restoration of the damaged site.

Spittlebug Restoration Initiative (PDF; 9 KB)

The “Two Lined Spittlebug Initiative” will assist producers to restore cover, prevent soil erosion and impacts to water quality and prevent further degradation of grazing land plant communities impacted by the bug on limited areas of the Big Island of Hawaii.

 

Conservation Activity Plans

A Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) can be developed for producers to address a specific natural resource concern on their agricultural operation. Each CAP is developed by a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP), who is selected by the EQIP participant. 

See 2019 Conservation Activity Plans for a list of available CAPs.

National and State Priorities

The following national priorities, consistent with statutory resources concerns that include soil, water, wildlife, air quality, and related natural resource concerns, may be used in EQIP implementation:

  1. Reductions of nonpoint source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with total maximum daily loads (TMDL) where available; the reduction of surface and groundwater contamination; and the reduction of contamination from agricultural sources, such as animal feeding operations
  2. Conservation of ground and surface water resources
  3. Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
  4. Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land
  5. Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat
  6. Energy conservation to help save fuel, improve efficiency of water use, maintain production, and protect soil and water resources by more efficiently using fertilizers and pesticides and
  7. Biological carbon storage and sequestration

PIA identified the following priorities:

  1. Grazing management: implementation of a prescribed grazing system and/or access control for streams and riparian areas;
  2. Erosion control and soil quality: grade control structures, diversions, water and sediment control basins, stream bank restoration, filter strips, cover crops, sod based crop rotations, conservation tillage;
  3. Nutrient management: manure storage structures, planned nutrient applications, soil testing, precision application of nutrients;
  4. Wildlife habitat enhancement: enhancing threatened and endangered wildlife habitat;
  5. Irrigation quality and quantity, irrigation efficiency, irrigation water management, reservoirs for storage of irrigation water;
  6. Pest management: crop and pest monitoring activities, precision application of pesticides and nutrients.

Decision Making Process for EQIP:

Input is solicited from Outside Groups, Agencies, and Citizens to assist with NRCS program decisions.

The list of eligible practices in the PIA, payment rates and limits, eligible natural 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 (LWG) are comprised of local stakeholders, organizations, and agencies, etc. within the local field office area. Input is used to determine priority local resource concerns for local ranking and scoring criteria.  

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.

Additional EQIP Information:


Pacific Islands Area (PIA) EQIP Contacts:

Colleen Simpson
EQIP Manager / Resource Conservationist
Phone: (671) 300-8582
Email: Colleen.Simpson@pb.usda.gov