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Agricultural Management Assistance

Agricultural Management Assistance

Introduction

The Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) is available to eligible agricultural producers in Hawaii. It provides financial and technical assistance to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations.

Producers may apply to install high tunnels to extend the growing season or protect crops from excessive rain or adverse climate conditions; upgrade irrigation systems and water management structures to improve irrigation efficiency and conserve irrigation water; or plant trees to provide windbreaks against wind erosion; and mitigate risk through production diversification or resource conservation practices.

Program Features

  • The program pays financial assistance of up to 75 percent of the cost of installing conservation practices.
  • Two funding pool opportunities exist for Hawaii agricultural producers.
  • The total AMA payments shall not exceed $50,000 per participant for any fiscal year from all AMA sources (NRCS, Risk Management Agency, and Agricultural Marketing Service).
  • Participants must complete a Producer Self-Certification for each AMA payment application.  If the payment limitation is exceeded, then the applicable agency will seek a refund from the participant for the amount exceeding the payment limitation.
  • Participants are not subject to Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985; however participants are subject to Adjusted Gross Income provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985.
  • Program offers an additional higher cost-share for historically underserved producers.

Program Eligibility

  • Applicants must be engaged in livestock or agricultural production and have annual potential sales of $1,000 or more.
  • Have an interest in the farming operation associated with the land being offered for AMA enrollment.
  • Have control of the land at the time of application and ultimately for the term of the proposed contract.
  • Be in compliance with the provisions for protecting the interests of tenants and sharecroppers, including the provisions for sharing AMA payments on a fair and equitable basis.
  • Be within appropriate payment limitation requirements.
  • Applicants are subject to an adjusted gross income limit of $900,000 or less.

Land Eligibility

Includes land:

  • on which agricultural commodities or livestock are produced such as cropland, hayland, pastureland, rangeland, and grassland
  • land used for subsistence purposes, private non-industrial forestland or other land on which agricultural products, livestock or forest-related goods are produced where risk may be mitigated through operation diversification or change in resource conservation practices.

Application Signup Deadlines

FY 2017 AMA Sign-up Deadlines
Application
Sign-up #
Deadline Date
1 December 21, 2018


Available Fund Pools (for Hawaii Agricultural Producers)

Applicants must select from the following fund pools in which they intend to complete.

AMA Fund Pool Name Fund Pool Description
FY 19 AMA - Hawaii This fund pool may address natural resource concerns on all land uses (crop, pasture, range, forest and farmstead (feeding operations).  High tunnels are not funded in this fund pool.  Compliance with highly erodible lands is not required to participate.
FY19 High Tunnel This fund pool may address protection of crops from excessive rain or adverse climate conditions or to extend the growing season. The practice cap for the high tunnel is $25,000 per applicant per contract year.  The following three practices are offered: High Tunnel System (code 325), Critical Area Planting (342) and Roof Runoff Structure (558). 
Use FY19 AMA – Hawaii to address other natural resource concerns.

High Tunnel Limits and Requirements

  • Crops shall be grown in the natural soil profile or raised beds.  Container crops are not permitted.
  • High tunnels shall not be used to house livestock or farm equipment (e.g. tractors, field equipment).
  • High tunnels shall not be installed on lawns, gravel pits, wetland, and parking lots.
  • Financial assistance is limited to the high tunnel and soil erosion expected from the concentration of water from the structure.  Electricity, mechanical ventilation and irrigation are allowed, but NRCS will not provide financial assistance for these items.
  • High tunnel practice payments are capped at $25,000 per participant per fiscal year.

Application Ranking and Selection Process

  1. NRCS will contact the applicant to conduct an evaluation and ranking of the application.
  2. The application will be ranked against all of the other AMA applications within the same AMA fund pool.
  3. NRCS will notify the applicant in writing of program eligibility or ineligibility, application deferral, or pre-approval for contract development.
  4. If selected for funding, the contract development process will be initiated.

Applicants selected for funding are not authorized to begin the installation of a conservation practice until they have a CCC-1202 Conservation Program Contract, signed by a CCC representative (NRCS Assistant Director for Field Office Operations, have an approved conservation plan, with approved job sheets and designs, and any required permits.

Each funding pool has an application ranking summary which is used to score the application for ranking purposes, based on the environmental benefits to be derived from addressing natural resource concerns.  The application ranking summary includes questions that address various resource concerns which may include, but are not limited to, water quality improvements, soil erosion reduction, water quantity conservation and plant health. Once all applications have been ranked the allocation process will begin from the highest scoring applications to a set minimum threshold or until all funds have been exhausted.

FY 2019 Hawaii AMA Ranking Tools

Eligible applications are ranked using the application ranking summary tool to determine the conservation benefits derived by the conservation practices used to address the resource concern.  Applications compete for funding within the same fund pools and are selected for funding based on the score until available funds are exhausted.  

AMA Application Ranking Summary:

Payment Schedules

Payment rates are offered for eligible conservation practices under the AMA program for Hawaii producers. 

Limited Resource Producers, Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, Veteran Farmer and Ranchers and Socially Disadvantaged applicants may be eligible for increased payment rates as historically underserved producers. The AMA payment schedule includes both Standard and Historically Underserved payment rates.  Historically underserved rates are designated by “HU” under each component.

Click here for: Pacific Islands Area Payment Schedules for AMA.  Select “Hawaii Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA payment schedule)”. 

How to Apply for AMA:

Additional Information

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has leadership for the conservation provisions of AMA.  The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is responsible for an organic certification cost-share program and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) is responsible for mitigation of financial risk through an insurance cost-share program.