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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

 

 

 

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FY 2021 Application Deadline

EQIP applications are accepted at any time of the year.  Applications received by the application deadline are evaluated for funding if the applicants have completed the eligibility requirements.  

The first application deadline for FY 2021 funding consideration is January 8, 2021.

This application deadline applies to the following National Initiatives:

  •  StrikeForce, Working Lands For Wildlife Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative, NM Wildlife Initiative, Water Management Entities, Source Water, Conservation Activity Plans, Beginning Farmer Rancher, Socially Disadvantaged Farmer Rancher, High Tunnel Initiative, Organic Initiative, On-Farm Energy Initiative, National Water Quality Initiative, Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration, WaterSMART Initiative, Drought, NM Forested

The EQIP Fund Account table below shows the application and ranking deadlines for the fund accounts offered in New Mexico.

Program Overview

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program authorized under the Agricultural Improvement ACT of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) that helps producers install measures to protect soil, water, plant, wildlife, and other natural resources while ensuring sustainable production on their farms, ranches and working forest lands.  In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP funding and provides participants with professional conservation expertise. 

Payments are made to participants after conservation practices and activities identified in an EQIP plan of operations are implemented. Contracts can last up to ten years in duration.   Each EQIP contract with a person or legal entity will be limited to $450,000 over the term of the contract.  A person or legal entity may not receive, directly or indirectly, payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $450,000 for all 2018 Farm Bill contracts entered into during fiscal years 2019. Payments received for technical assistance are excluded from this limitation.

The State Conservationist, with advice from the State Technical Committee and local working groups, allocates funds to various EQIP fund accounts and develops a ranking process to addresses National, State and Local priority natural resource concerns in a cost-effective manner. 

State Priorities

The New Mexico State Conservationist establishes state priority natural resource concerns using recommendations of the State Technical Committee and tribal Conservation advisory councils.  Local Working Groups establish local priorities. 

The State Priorities (PDF; 210 KB)

Financial Assistance

Those who submit an application and are accepted into EQIP may receive payments to offset costs associated with materials and installation of conservation practices. Practices funded through EQIP may include such measures as: manure management practices, pest management treatments, irrigation systems improvements, forest stewardship plans and management practices, erosion control and buffers, range and pasture planting, brush management, fencing, watering facilities, and a wide range of other practices.  

The New Mexico list of conservation practices shows approved practices and the lifespan of each practice.

The amount of financial assistance for a conservation practice is determined by practice scenarios that identify the costs of the typical installation settings.  The costs used in the scenarios are regional averages and are not intended to be used as an estimate of the actual cost to install a practice.  Historically underserved participants receive 90 percent of the total cost of a scenario and all other participants receive 75 percent.  These percentages are captured in the payment schedule, which in the past was referred to as a cost list.

The 2021 Payment Schedule and Payment Scenarios are found in the New Mexico Field Office Technical Guide, Section 1, Cost Data, 2021 found here:  https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/?cid=nrcseprd1328426

NRCS will select the conservation practice scenario that bests addresses the resource concern at the least-cost to the government.  The least-cost scenario selected in an EQIP contract does not limit the choice of treatment options of the participant. However, the treatment option implemented must meet NRCS standards and specifications, address the identified resource concern, and be approved by an individual with NRCS job approval authority.  

The practices funded by EQIP varies by EQIP fund account.

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.  All NRCS programs will utilize CART for assessing and ranking all applications received during the announced sign-up or batching periods to determine funding.  The Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) is the agency’s official application used to assist conservation planners to assess site vulnerability, existing field conditions, and potential resource concerns on a unit of land.  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 assess and 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.  Applications may be ranked throughout the year as long as funds are available. 

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

Applicants can request to be considered in all applicable fund accounts or can specify that their application be considered in just certain fund accounts.

EQIP Fund Accounts for FY 2021

The table below shows selected fund accounts and ranking deadlines.  This may change and will be updated at least 30 days before new deadlines are set.

EQIP Sign-up Options
Click on each sign-up option below for more information, including eligible practices, ranking criteria and practice caps.

Application
Deadline

Ranking
Deadline

Local EQIP (EQIP Classic)

Funds are allocated to address resource concerns at the level of the Local Field Offices.

Jan 8, 2021

Apr 2,
2021

EQIP Incentive

 

TBA

TBA

Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration 

Under the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership (LRP), NRCS and the Forest Service are working together to target conservation and restoration to measurably improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet to provide for long-term natural resources and production benefits

Jan 8, 2021

Apr 2,
2021

Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative - Working Lands for Wildlife

Producers engaged in grazing operations with leks, or the potential for leks, are encouraged to apply for EQIP financial assistance.  This initiative is intended to assist with ongoing recovery efforts for this species of concern.  The initiative is available to producers in Chaves, Curry, De Baca, Eddy, Lea, Roosevelt and Quay counties.

Jan 8, 2021

Apr 2,
2021

NM High Tunnel Initiative

A High Tunnel System, commonly called a “hoop house,” is an increasingly popular conservation practice for farmers, and is available with financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). 

Jan 8, 2021 Apr 2,
2021
New Mexico Socially Disadvantaged New Mexico sets aside a portion of EQIP funding for Socially Disadvantaged producers. Jan 8, 2021 Apr 2,
2021
New Mexico Wildlife Initiative

NM Wildlife Initiative Ranking

Jan 8, 2021 Apr 2,
2021

Organic Initiative

The National Organic Initiative, funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), is a voluntary conservation program that provides technical and financial assistance for organic farmers and ranchers, or those interested in transitioning to organic. NRCS can help organic producers improve their operations or help producers transition to organic using a conservation plan tailored to their needs.

Jan 8, 2021

Apr 2,
2021

Strike Force Initiative

A multi agency program to better serve persistently impoverished communities and socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers through the coordination of activities among USDA agencies and the use of community-based organizations’ local expertise.

Jan 8, 2021

Apr 2,
2021

*CCPI and AWEP were not re-authorized under the Agricultural Act of 2014.

Links

Previous New Mexico EQIP Web Pages

Contacts

Please direct all questions about applying for EQIP to your local office.  Click here for the location of the office nearest you USDA Service Center.

Kenneth J. Branch
Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
(505) 761-4454 voice
(855) 538-6003 fax
E-mail: kenneth.branch@usda.gov