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Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers & Ranchers

Small Scale Solutions for Your Farm (national website - you will open in a new window)

EQIP Special Emphasis - Alabama

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers. It provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services. Enhancements include streamlined delivery of technical and financial assistance; improved programs and services; and flexibility in decision making (with most decisions made at the Tribal, State, or local level).

Funds have been set aside to assist new and beginning farmers and ranchers to develop and maintain economic viability in their farm operations. Application eligibility will be based on the producer, entity, or joint operation farm income as outlined in the USDA-2008 Farm Bill.


A New and Beginning Farmer or Rancher means an individual or entity who:

  • Has not operated a farm or ranch, or who has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 consecutive years. This requirement applies to all members of an entity,
  • Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch.
  1. In the case of a contract with an individual, individually or with the immediate family, material and substantial participation requires that the individual provide substantial day-to-day labor and management of the farm or ranch, consistent with the practices in the county or State where the farm is located.
  2. In the case of a contract with an entity, all members must materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch. Material and substantial participation requires that each of the members provide some amount of the management, or labor and management necessary for day-to-day activities, such that if each of the members did not provide these inputs, operation of the farm or ranch would be seriously impaired.


  1. Conduct statewide publicity of program sign-up through traditional and non-traditional avenues to reach the most potential participants.
  2. The New and Beginning Farmer program includes all resource concerns and practices identified under county-wide concerns.
  3. Practices will be paid according to an increased payment schedule.
  4. All New and Beginning Farmer applications for state-wide project will be entered into ProTracts under the New and Beginning fund code.
  5. All applications will be ranked using criteria developed at the state level.
  6. All applications not funded under this project can compete in county-wide concerns if desired by applicant.
  7. If all special funds are not allocated in the first batching period, subsequent batching periods will be announced or funds may be reallocated to other fund codes.
  8. There will be a maximum limit set for practice installation.

Additional Information and Fact Sheets

 These documents may require Adobe Reader.

Ranking (See additional EQIP Resources)
Conservation Program Application and Appendix - NRCS-CPA-1200 (English) (PDF, 95 KB)
    *Spanish version
Power of Attorney (Form 211 and 211a - FSA and NRCS) (PDF, 368 KB)
Direct Deposit (Form SF-1199a) (PDF, 109 KB)

Fact Sheets

Plastic Mulch and Drip Irrigation (Plasticulture) (PDF, 59 KB)
Micro-Irrigation Plasticulture Drawing (PDF, 5 pages, 1.2 MB) 

Success Stories

2014 Farmers of the Year Issue of Minority Landowner Magazine. (.pdf) Four Alabama farmers featured:

  • Charles Adams, Notasulga, hoop house
  • James Childs, Sr., Boligee, Small Farmer
  • Thomas Freeman, Muscle Shoals – Alabama 2014 Farmer of the Year
  • Rose Hill, Camden, Small Farmer

Program Contact

National Information

New Farmer National Website

Contact your local Service Center for further guidelines and details of the program.  

NRCS State Office contact Steve Musser, USDA–NRCS, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, phone: (334) 887-4503.