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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Alaska farmland with mountains in background; EQIP header

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill to promote agricultural production , forest management, and environmental quality as compatible with national goals and to optimize environmental benefits on eligible land with farmers and nonindustrial private forest land owners on a voluntary basis.

 

Program Benefits and Practices

Through EQIP, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to eligible individuals and entities to plan and install conservation practices that benefit soil, water, air, plants, and animals. EQIP addresses national resource concerns including improvement of water quality, water conservation , reducing greenhouse gasses, improving wildlife habitat, controlling invasive plant species, and on-farm energy conservation and efficiency. 

 

Participant Eligibility, Responsibilities, and Requirements

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. To be considered for funding, all EQIP applications must meet the criteria for producer eligibility, land eligibility, and the proposed project must address at least one natural resource concern.

An EQIP contract is a legally binding agreement and the participants’ responsibilities are considerable. The best place to learn about these responsibilities is to thoroughly review the NRCS-CPS-1200 (Application) with Appendix (PDF) which set forth the terms and conditions of the contract.

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

Notification that starting a practice prior to written contract approval will result in the ineligibility of that practice for EQIP assistance unless a waiver has been approved (see 440-CPM, Part 512, Subpart E). Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply. 

Additional information on eligibility and the responsibilities of the participant are found in the booklet How NRCS Financial Assistance Programs Work in Alaska (PDF).

 

Historically Underserved Clients

Alaska strives to insure that historically underserved producers are well informed about EQIP and have every opportunity to participate. Historically underserved applicants include those who qualify as a Beginning Farmer-Rancher, a Socially Disadvantaged Farmer-Rancher, Veteran Farmer or Limited Resource Farmer-Rancher. Please see the fact sheet 'Do You Qualify as a Historically Underserved Producer?' for more information. Historically underserved clients receive a higher payment rate which may vary by fund account. The payments for historically underserved contracts are shown on the payment schedule with “(HU).” Participants may be required to provide certain tax documents to verify eligibility as a limited resource or beginning farmer or rancher. 

NRCS does not discriminate in the selection of applications. Preferences given to historically underserved clients are in accordance with The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2014 (2014 Agricultural Act) which are meant to address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers..

 

How to Apply

The application form to apply for EQIP is the NRCS-CPA-1200. Applicants may complete and submit the NRCS-CPA-1200 (application) to their NRCS field office, in person, by fax, by regular mail or by email. Please click on NRCS field offices to find the office serving your area. Please direct all questions about applying for EQIP to your area's office.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to thoroughly review all pages of the application form and appendix before applying: NRCS-CPA-1200 (Application) with Appendix (PDF).  

Only application forms received by the NRCS field offices by the application deadline that are complete and signed will be considered for funding.

 

Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Application Deadline

NRCS accepts EQIP applications year-round, but establishes cutoff dates for applications to be evaluated and ranked for current year funding. 

The application deadline for FY2018 funding consideration is available on the Fund Pool page (linked).

Any applications received after the deadline will be held for evaluation in a future ranking period.

To be ready for EQIP funding consideration, interested applications will need to:  (1) Develop a conservation plan, (2) Submit an 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.  For more information view the booklet How NRCS Financial Assistance Programs Work in Alaska.

 

Application Evaluation and Selection

EQIP applications are evaluated and ranked for available funding based on local, state and national program priorities.  Screening tools may also be used to manage workload and identify projects that will provide the most environmental benefits.  The local Field Office collects information about the applicants’ agricultural operations through existing information, on-site visits, and/or personal communications and works with the applicant to develop an EQIP Conservation Plan/Schedule of Operations.  The information collected is used to rank the application which results in a numerical score. Applicants compete for available EQIP funds within a specific fund account, such as irrigated crop or grazed range or forested land, etc.  Applications are selected for funding in the order of screening priority and highest ranking score. 

Screening and ranking criteria are developed separately for each EQIP fund account. 

 

National Priorities (7 CFR Part 1466.4)

The following are national priorities to be achieved with EQIP funding:

  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; and
  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.

 

State Priorities

  1. Reduction of non-point source pollution; including soil erosion control and, containment and utilization of manure and waste resulting from animal confinement;
  2. Grazing and pasture land health;
  3. Forestland health; and
  4. Protection and enhancement of traditionally and culturally utilized resources while protecting ecological functions and values.

 

Payment Caps

High Tunnel (325) On Road: $9,200 per contract item number
Off Road: $16,800 per contract item number
Fuel Break (383)   $22,000 per contract
Nutrient Management (590) $10,000 per year for a maximum of three (3) years per contract
Prescribed Grazing (528) $10,000 per year for a maximum of three (3) years per contract

 

Link to payment rate website

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat Reader
 

Alaska EQIP Requirements

NRCS-CPA-1200 (Application) with Appendix 

FY 2018 EQIP Practice List

FY 2018 EQIP Fund Pools

Fact Sheet: Alaska EQIP 

Booklet: How NRCS Financial Assistance Programs Work in Alaska 

 

NRCS is an equal eligibility provider.  EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural and substance producers without discrimination or bias.


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Contact

Amanda Crowe, Assistant State Conservationist - Programs
(907) 761-7757 
E-mail: amanda.crowe@ak.usda.gov