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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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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.
 
EQIP has both National and State Initiatives allowing states to target funding appropriate to State's needs, based on the State Technical Commmittee and Local Working Group feedback.
 
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EQIP National Initiatives
 
There are several specific initiatives and unique funding opportunities offered under EQIP in New York. For detailed information on each initiative below.
 
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On Farm Energy Initiative
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High Tunnel Initiative
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Organic Initiative

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EQIP State Initiatives
There are several specific initiatives and unique funding opportunities offered under EQIP in New York. For detailed information on each initiative, see below.
 
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Farmstead
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Soil Management
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Grazing
 
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Forestry
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Habitat
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Conservation Activity Plans

Back To Top Regional Initiatives
NRCS New York has program opportunities using EQIP funding or EQIP authorities available in specific regions or watersheds of the state. Regional opportunities addresses critical natural resource concerns that have been identified in the multi-state efforts.
   
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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
 

Back To Top National & 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 non-point 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

Back To Top In addition, New York has identified the following priorities:
 
  1. Livestock: address natural resource concerns for storage, treatment, and management of animal waste and nutrients, to reduce resource concerns related to nutrients and pathogens in surface and groundwater.
  2. Cropland: assist producers with resource concerns on cropland such as soil health, soil quality, and erosion.
  3. Water Quality: help producers with installing conservation practices such as Waste Storage Structures, Heavy Use Area Protection, Riparian Buffers, Cover Crops, Filter strips and Waterways to address phosphorus, pathogens, and sediment impairments that can relate to soil erosion, exposed soil, and the lack of riparian buffers or filter strips.
  4. Forestry: address resource concerns related to plant health and wildlife habitat, as identified in forest stewardship plan.
  5. Wildlife habitat enhancement: Targeted species, e.g., migratory birds, endangered and species of concern and their habitat, to reverse the decline and benefit other species with similar habitat needs.
  6. Grazing: assist producers with an approved grazing plan to treat resource concerns related to grazing systems including plant health and vigor, soil health, soil erosion and water quality.
  7. New York 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.

Back To Top Accepting Applications - Application Cutoff Date
 

NRCS accepts EQIP applications year-round, but establishes cutoff dates to make funding selections for eligible, screened, and ranked applications.

To be ready for EQIP funding consideration, interested applicants will need to:
(1) Work with NRCS to develop an NRCS conservation plan,
(2) Submit a complete application on form NRCS CPA-1200,
(3) Meet all other EQIP program eligibility requirements, and
(4) Approve their ‘EQIP schedule of operations’.

 

The time needed to complete a conservation plan and process eligibility can vary, depending on the complexity of the farming operation. Producers interested in applying for EQIP funding should contact NRCS at their earliest convenience to begin working with NRCS on the NRCS conservation plan. Applications submitted without an NRCS developed conservation plan will be considered ineligible for funding.

Become An Eligible EQIP Applicant

Back To Top Participant Responsibilities
 

Applicants are responsible for completing and filing all application and eligibility paperwork as required. Applicants cannot start any financially assisted practices, included in their application, prior to obligation of their contract. Practices started before contract obligation will be considered ineligible for payment.

If funded, participants are required to sign a contract and agree to implement the planned conservation practices to NRCS standards and specifications as scheduled. Participants must commence a practice, listed in their contract, in the first 12 months of the contract and complete all practices according to the schedule included in their contract.


Back To Top Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers, and 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.


Back To Top Decision Making Process for EQIP
 

Input from Outside Groups, Agencies, and Citizens: The list of eligible practices in New York, payment rates and limits, eligible resource concerns, and state scoring criteria are developed based on input and recommendations from the State Technical Committee (STC). The STC is made up of representatives from various agribusinesses, producer groups, conservation organizations, and federal, state, and tribal government agency representatives.

Local Work Groups (LWG) are subdivisions of the State Technical Committee that provide county level feedback to influence the resource concerns addressed, ranking questions asked, and practices offered.

The priorities set at the state and county level are those that the STC and LWG respectively determined were of the greatest need and would have the greatest positive environmental impact. The scoring process at both the state and local level was developed in order to select those projects that would provide the greatest environmental benefit, and therefore provide the greatest public good.




How to Apply for USDA-NRCS Conservation Programs

Learn what steps you will need to take to prepare for, and submit, your application to become a USDA-NRCS Conservation Program participant.

Learn more about the criteria required to become an eligible EQIP applicant.

Additional Information

Five Steps to AssistanceLearn how to get started with NRCS.

Find your local USDA Service CenterService Center Locator

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