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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Introduction

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land.

Accepting Applications

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. The following document describes how to apply for Farm Bill programs or visit the following website: Get started with NRCS national page

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted

To apply for EQIP, contact your local service center.

Eligibility

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

Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply. 

Participant Responsibilities

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.

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. It provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services. Enhancements include increased payment rates and advance payments of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract.

Wyoming is committed to reaching out to Historically Underserved individuals and groups. Historically Underserved participants may also receive higher payment rates in addition to being considered in high priority funding pools.

See the Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers page for the NRCS definition of the Historically Underserved. Wyoming Historically Underserved (which includes socially disadvantaged, limited resources, and beginning farmers and rancher (HTML)

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

In addition, Wyoming has identified the following priorities, based on recommendations from the Wyoming State Technical Committee. The State Technical Committee is made up of representatives from various producer groups, conservation organizations, agribusinesses, and federal, state, and tribal government agencies.:

  1. Grazing lands management 
  2. Water quality 
  3. Irrigation water management 
  4. Wetlands 
  5. Prevention of the conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural use 
  6. Excessive erosion 
  7. Streambank/riparian area protection 
  8. Fish and wildlife habitat
  9. Forest health
  10. Noxious and invasive species
  11. Energy
  12. Soil Health

 

Allocation Criteria
Demographic Factors  
  • Number of farms/ranches
  • Number of Historically Underserved Producers
Resource Factors
  • Private, Tribal, and other non-federal acres needing treatment
  • Irrigated acres
  • Federal acres
  • Riparian/wetland acres
  • At-risk species habitat
Management Factors
  •  Measured performance

EQIP Deadlines

To apply for EQIP,your local service center Get Started with NRCS - Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease? NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. Learn how here.

Conservation Activity Plans

EQIP funding is available for the development of a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP). A CAP can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need. Typically, these plans are specific to certain kinds of land uses such as transitioning to organic operation, grazing land, forest land, or can also address a specific resource need such as a plan for management of nutrients. CAP plans may only be developed by a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP). To find a certified TSP please click on the link below and click the “Find a TSP” icon. The following CAP’s are offered in Wyoming.

102 – Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan

104 – Nutrient Management Plan

106 – Forest Management Plan

108 – Feed Management Plan

110 – Grazing Management Plan

112 – Prescribed Burning Plan

114 – Integrated Pest Management Plan

118 – Irrigation Water Management Plan

128 -  Agricultural Energy Management Plan

130 -  Drainage Water Management Plan

138 – Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition

142 – Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management Plan

146 – Pollinator Habitat Enhancement Plan

154 – IPM Herbicide Resistance Weed Conservation Plan

 

Wyoming EQIP Funding Pools and Ranking Documents

In FY 2014, Wyoming Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) created eight divisions within the state for developing ranking criteria to treat irrigation and grazinglands resource concerns. Similar resource concerns, landuse, climate, topography and farming and ranching practices were considered when developing these divisions. Four subaccounts were developed for each division based on landuse and resource concern. The subaccounts and ranking tools are the same for all eight divisions.

Map for the counties in each SubAccount division

 

Funding Pools

Descriptions

Ranking Documents

  Some files may require Excel.  

General EQIP

The primary focus of the General EQIP funding pool is to address soil erosion and water quality resource concerns on cropland and adjacent incidental areas. The funding pool is managed on an area-wide basis, so applicants within an NRCS Area are competing against each other.

State Wildlife/Wetland

Producers interested in addressing wetland and/or upland habitat resource concerns may apply for these funds. Projects may include wetland restoration or enhancement and/or enhancement of upland shrub plant communities.

State Wildlife/Wetland Ranking Tool
(PDF, 28 kb)

National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)

NWQI helps producers implement conservation systems to reduce nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment and pathogen contributions from agricultural land in the following watershed:

  • Slick Creek/Sage Creek

More information on the NWQI webpage.

NWQI Ranking Tool (PDF, 35 kb)

FY2015 NWQI Slick-Sage Creek Ranking Tool (Excel, 39 kb)

 

Organic Initiative

The Organic Initiative provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for organic producers or those transitioning to organic. The Initiative addresses natural resource concerns and also helps growers meet requirements related to National Organic Program (NOP) requirements.

  • Certified Organic
  • Organic Transition

FY17 Organic - Certified Ranking Tool
(PDF, 30 kb)

Seasonal High Tunnel System

The purpose of the High Tunnel System for Crops 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.

Seasonal High Tunnel System Ranking Tool
(PDF, 23 kb)

On-Farm Energy The On-Farm Energy Initiatives enable the producer to identify ways to conserve energy on the farm through two types of Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) for headquarters and/or for landscape, also known as an on-farm energy audit (headquarters and/or landscape); and by providing financial and technical assistance to help the producer implement various measures and practices recommended in these on-farm energy audits.

FY17 On-Farm Energy Ranking Tool (PDF, 23 kb)

Beginning Farmer and Rancher This subaccount is for producers that quality as a Beginning Farmer or Rancher. The subaccount is available to treat a wide variety of resource concerns.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Ranking Tool
(PDF, 25 kb)

Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher This subaccount is for producer that quality as a Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher. The subaccount is available to treat a wide variety of resource concerns. Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher Ranking Tool
(PDF, 25 kb)
Colorado River Salinity Control Program The purpose of this program is to reduce salinity concentrations in the Colorado River. Projects must be located in an approved salinity control area. Colorado River Salinity Control Program Ranking Tool (PDF, 27 kb)
Wind River Reservation These subaccounts are available to producers addressing resource concerns on Cropland, Rangeland, pastureland and other incidental area on the Wind River Reservation. Wind River Reservation Ranking Tool (PDF, 75 kb)

 

Payment Rates:
Rates will be set at levels that encourage producers to adopt the conservation practice, while optimizing the use of federal funds.

Additional tools needed to answer Irrigation subaccount questions:

Eligible Conservation Practices:
The Wyoming electronic Field Office Tech Guide (eFOTG)contains a list of potential practices eligible for financial assistance.

Accomplishments
Since 1997, over $130 million of EQIP financial assistance has been distributed across Wyoming to address natural resource concerns. These dollars will allow private landowners to implement prescribed grazing and other land treatments on rangeland; install improved irrigation and water management systems on cropland and hayland; address water quality concerns, including livestock waste management; and improve riparian area health and wildlife habitat.

Contact:
Mary Schrader, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, 307-233-6757