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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

EQIP - Classic

Application Cutoff Date for
Fiscal Year 2021: December 4, 2020


Each applicant must establish themselves as a USDA customer and attain all Farm Service Agency (FSA) eligibility requirements by December 4, 2020


General Description

An NRCS staff member does some survey work in conjunction with an EQIP irrigation project in southern Idaho.
















An NRCS staff member does some survey work in conjunction with an EQIP irrigation project in southern Idaho.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts. These contracts provide financial assistance to help implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.

How to Apply

The application process is a continuous process. Those who are interested should work with their local NRCS office to identify and plan the conservation measures needed to address the resource concern identified on their land.

When applying for EQIP, schedule a meeting with NRCS to discuss your options before moving forward. Local NRCS conservationists will help you develop a conservation plan, identify conservation measures and pursue funding through one of the EQIP fund pool options available in Idaho. Those who have previously developed a conservation plan with NRCS could already have the conservation planning step completed.

Eligible applicants may apply for EQIP by completing the CCC-1200 EQIP application form and all other eligibility forms at any USDA Service Center Locator by email, or letter.

For more information about EQIP, how to apply and program eligibility requirements, interested applicants should contact a NRCS field office in the county which you own land or where you have an agricultural operation.

Click here for Resource Concern fact sheets


Accepting Applications

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.

Starting a conservation practice prior to written contract approval will result in the ineligibility of that practice for EQIP assistance unless a waiver has been approved (see CPM 440, Part 512, Subpart E).

Applications are accepted, from all eligible agricultural producers or non-industrial private forest landowners, on a continuous basis throughout the year. Applications for assistance for fiscal year 2021 must be submitted by December 4th, 2020 to be eligible to receive an award assistance in 2021.

EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers without discrimination or bias.

Eligibility

Agricultural producers, subsistence landowners, non-industrial private forestland and Indian tribes are eligible to apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands.

Socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes, and veterans are eligible for an increased payment rate and may receive advance payment of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract.

EQIP Contracting Timeline

12/4/2020

Application deadline

1/29/2021

Eligibility and Screening deadline

4/2/2021

Ranking deadline

5/15/2021

All documents must to signed and uploaded to DMS

6/1/2021

Contract obligation

Important Information Regarding FSA Eligibility

One eligibility requirement that is not instantaneous is the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) determination. On average, AGI determinations take 3 weeks to be processed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). All eligibility forms including AGI will be due 3 weeks prior to January 29th, 2021. It is highly recommended that applicants submit their completed AGI form to FSA by the December 4th application deadline. Submitting your AGI form to FSA on the last day will result in your AGI eligibility not being met by the cutoff date of January 29, 2021 for FY21.

FSA offices can be found by visiting the USDA Service Center Locator to find the NRCS and FSA representatives for your county.

Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested in EQIP Classic must meet the following eligibility requirements by January 29, 2021 to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2021.

(Note: Water management entities must submit an application by the December 4th deadline as well as a project proposal.  Project proposals will be reviewed by an NRCS team of experts to determine if the project fits under EQIP or if another NRCS program is better suited.)

  • Attain all necessary FSA eligibility determinations (AD-1026, AGI, FTE), and
  • Submit their CCC-1200 EQIP application to their local NRCS office

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
  • Have an identifiable Resource Concern on the offered land unit(s)
  • Work with NRCS to develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations to solve the identified Resource Concern(s)

Program Payments and Payment Rates

For State Payment Rates, see https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/financial/?cid=nrcseprd1328426.


EQIP Initiatives

The table below identifies opportunities available through EQIP in Idaho.

Program Name

Program Description

General EQIP
Incentives

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.


National EQIP Initiatives

On-Farm Energy Initiative

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.

Organic Initiative

Provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for organic producers and those transitioning to organic to address natural resource concerns.

Sage Grouse Initiative

Focuses on making measurable and significant progress toward treating a specific threat to sage-grouse on private lands through strategic use of conservation programs.

National Water Quality
Initiative

Provide technical and financial assistance and planning tools to help farmers and ranchers determine which conservation actions will provide the best results to improve water quality on their land.  Funding limited to the Lower Sand Hollow Creek, Dixie Slough, and Outlet Boise River Watersheds.

Beginning Farmer or Rancher

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers who meet the Beginning Farmer or Rancher criteria through contracts to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.  This includes both Irrigated and Non-irrigated land.

Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers who meet the Socially Disadvantaged criteria through contracts to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.

Water Conservation (Water Management Entities)

Provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for Water Management Entities to address water conservation projects.

Conservation Activity Plans (CAP)

Provides financial assistance to write a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) by a Technical Service Provider (TSP).  This fund pool will be approved on a continuing basis.


State Fund Pools

Dairy/AFO/CAFO

Provides financial and technical assistance to addresses resource concerns related to AFO/CAFO or dairies.

Cheatgrass Challenge

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers, and other landowners for the purpose of implementing conservation practices that will help control cheatgrass and other noxious weeds. 

Joint Chiefs – Goose Creek

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers, and other landowners to implement conservation practices in a National Approved targeted area known as Goose Creek.

Special Projects
(Year 2)

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers, and other landowners to implement conservation practices in 2 different targeted areas of the State that were approved for State funding last year.

Natural Disaster *

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers, and other landowners to implement conservation practices that need to be installed immediately if they were affected by a natural disaster such as wildfire or floods.

LWG Team Ranking Pools 1-17

Provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland.  Priorities and Resource Concerns are decided at the local Team level.


Ranking Process

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee has developed ranking criteria to prioritize and subsequently fund applications addressing priority natural resource concerns in Idaho. These priorities for EQIP funding are established locally and at the state level, based on locally identified natural resource needs consistent with state and national EQIP priorities. Local Work Groups convened by local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) provide advice to NRCS about natural resource issues and priorities within their counties which make up a Team. EQIP applications are evaluated based on these Team priorities and then prioritized for funding. These decisions are based on an evaluation process that includes application screening and ranking criteria. NRCS uses the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) to assess the site vulnerability, existing conditions, and identify potential resource concerns on a unit of land. After CART assessment, NRCS uses CART Ranking to evaluate an application in all applicable funding pools.


Click here for the ID Statewide EQIP Screening Tool

Click here for the EQIP Program Ranking Criteria

 

* Immediate Installation Needs for Participants Affected by Wildfire and Seeking Assistance in the Natural Disaster Fund Pool -- EARLY START WAIVER Process

Participants needing to install conservation practices to protect a resource, alleviate significant environmental problems, or prevent endangerment to life and property should request an Early Start Waiver to the State Conservationist of Idaho NRCS. The applicant must not start the conservation practice or activity prior to approval of the waiver.

The participant must request an Early Start Waiver in writing by either email or written letter. The written request must state what conservation practice(s) the participant needs to install before the contract is awarded. Submit your written request to your local NRCS field office and it will be forwarded onto the State Conservationist.

NRCS must inform applicants that

  1. Prior to approval the application must be in PreApproved Status
  2. Approved waiver does not guarantee contract approval;
  3. Conservation practices or activities must meet NRCS standards and specifications; and
  4. Applicant must maintain Farm Service Agency eligibility, or the applicant will be ineligible to receive payments.
  5. Payment will not be issued for conservation practices installed until the contract is obligated.
  6. Conservation practices or activities completed prior to contract obligation but after the waiver has expired are not eligible for payment.

NRCS and the participant must complete these actions before the State Conservationist will approve Early Start Waiver —

  1. Submit completed CCC-1200 EQIP application form and entered into Protracts
  2. Signed Conservation plan and map by Designated Conservationist and Participant
  3. Signed conservation practices job sheet(s) by appropriate NRCS staff with job approval authority and Participant for all conservation practices requested in Early Start Waiver.
  4. Signed CPA-52 document by conservation planner and Designated Conservationist.
  5. Completed Cultural Resources review.


Eligible Activities and Treatments

NRCS conservation practices eligible for financial assistance through the Wildfire ranking pool are listed in the below table by code and practice.  For the complete list, please click here.
 

Archived Information From Past Years


Idaho EQIP Contacts

Local

Please contact the District Conservationist in the USDA Service Center nearest the location of your property. 

Idaho EQIP Program Manager: 

Lori Kassib, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Boise, ID 83709
Phone: (208) 685-6986
Email: lori.kassib@usda.gov