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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat.

Benefits

Eligible program participants receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices, or activities  like conservation planning, that address natural resource concerns  on their land. 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.

Eligibility

Agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland and 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.

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
  • Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations

Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply. 

EQIP Program Application Cutoff Dates

Sign-Up Option

Description

FY2018 Application Cutoff Dates

General EQIP

Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018.

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018

High Tunnel System

A Program available to agricultural producers, designed to strengthen local and regional food markets and increase the use of sustainable conservation practices that will improve plant and soil quality, reduce nutrient and pesticide transport and reduce energy inputs.  Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018.

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018

Energy Initiative

Assist producers to conserve energy on their farms through an Agriculture Energy Management Plan (AgEMP), also known as an on-farm energy audit and provide assistance to implement various recommended measures identified in an energy audit. Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018.

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018

Organic Initiative

Special EQIP funding is available to organic growers and those transitioning to organic production. Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018.

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018

Conservation Activity Plans (CAPs)

A Conservation Activity Plan or CAP can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need. Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018.

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018

National Water Quality Initiative

The National Water Quality Initiative will work in priority watersheds to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners improve water quality and aquatic habitats in impaired streams. NRCS will help producers implement conservation and management practices through a systems approach to control and trap nutrient and manure runoff. Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018.

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018

National Air Quality Initiative

This initiative is designed to help producers meet air quality compliance requirements, as well as an opportunity to support practices which address impacts associated with particulate matter and greenhouse gases. In eligible counties, this initiative will provide eligible producers with program support to address serious air quality concerns from agricultural operations and help meet regulatory requirements.

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018

Joint Chief's Landscape Restoration Partnership

These projects build on existing projects and partnerships. By leveraging technical and financial resources and coordinating activities on adjacent public and private lands, conservation work by NRCS and FS will be more efficient and effective in these watersheds. 

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018

 

 

State EQIP Initiatives

Sign-Up Option

Description

FY2018
Application Cutoff Dates

Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI)

NRCS developed the Sage-grouse Initiative to help private landowners voluntarily conserve sage-grouse populations and habitat on their working lands.  In Washington, NRCS identified potential threats to sage-grouse and their habitat and determined specific conservation practices to reduce those threats.  Technical and financial assistance through EQIP is available for implementing the specific practices. Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018.

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018

State Conservation Innovation Grant(s) (CIG)

CIG is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds are used to award competitive grants to eligible entities including Federal recognized Indian Tribes, state and local units of government and nongovernmental individuals and organizations. 

TBD

Washington's Wildfire Initiative Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications from agricultural producers statewide who were impacted by wildfires in 2014 or 2015. Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018. November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018
Olympia Oyster Habitat Restoration 

Financial and technical assistance is available from NRCS through EQIP for individual producer contracts to help restore Olympia Oysters. EQIP funding will help pay for the shell substrate essential for the Olympia Oysters to grow upon as well as seeded cultch bags. Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018.

November 17, 2017 and March 16, 2018
Future Directions: Salmon Recovery Washington NRCS will obligate Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) financial assistance funding to support implementation of innovative, outcome-oriented conservation projects that will lead to improvements in salmon habitat. Although applications are accepted on a year-round basis, eligible producers and entities interested will have three cut-off dates to submit their applications for consideration for funding in fiscal year 2018. March 16, 2018

How to Apply

The application process is a continuous process. Those who are interested in EQIP should work with the local NRCS office to identify and plan the conservation measures you want on your land. Those who have previously developed a conservation plan with NRCS will already have the conservation planning step completed.

Those who are applying for EQIP for the first time should schedule a meeting with NRCS to discuss their 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 signup options available in Washington.

Technical and Financial Assistance

Technical Assistance: Those who submit an application and are accepted into EQIP may receive technical assistance to plan conservation measures. Through EQIP, NRCS provides or covers the cost of professional technical services to develop conservation measures. This includes:

  • On-site assessments
  • Site-specific practice and management plans or Conservation Activity Plans (CAPs).
  • Engineering designs
  • Practice Payments: EQIP participants may also receive practice payments to offset the costs associated with the installation, cost of materials, and/or income lost with adoption of conservation measures. Practices that may be funded through EQIP are listed in the EQIP Practice
  • Payment List below.

These include measures such as:

  • Manure management practices,
  • Efficient irrigation upgrades,
  • Forest management practices (Applicants must have an acceptable forest management plan in place in order to receive EQIP funding for forestry practices. This may be an NRCS Forest Management Activity Plan or other forest management plan; contact the local NRCS for more information.)
  • Erosion control and buffers,
  • Range and pasture planting,
  • Fencing and stockwater,
  • and many other activities.

State Resource Assessment

Through the use of the State Technical Advisory Committee and Local Work Groups priority resource concerns and treatment areas have been identified. The 2009 and 2010 LWG process resulted in LWG resource assessments containing narratives and locally identified resource concerns.

This partnership has prepared a formal document describing the State Resource Assessment 2011: Priority Resource Concerns, Washington State, August 2011.

The State Resource Assessment is an integral document in setting resource concern priorities in every area in Washington State.

State Resource Assessment Accomplishment Report - FY15

The 2012 SRA was the foundation for Washington NRCS to address the identified resource concerns on private and tribal lands. It was the basis for NRCS resource-based performance planning, workforce planning, and budget and allocation formulation, for fiscal years 2012 through 2015. 

NRCS program planning and delivery includes the SRA and TRA priority treatment areas as a part of the NRCS screening and ranking tools. Landowner applications for NRCS programs are given a higher ranking if the application addresses one or more of the SRA Priority Resource Concerns in these areas. 

To view the State Resource Assessment Accomplishment report, click here.

Application Ranking Criteria and Selection

Annually, NRCS establishes one or more cutoff dates for applications to be evaluated and ranked for current year funding.  Any applications received after the cutoff date will be held for evaluation in a future ranking period.

The application ranking criteria for Washington State was developed in consultation with the 10 Local Work Groups (LWG) and the Tribal Work Group (TWG), based on National, state and local priorities and priority resource concerns.  The same application ranking criteria is used to evaluate all Tribal applications in the state. All other applications are ranked using the application ranking criteria for the LWG covering that geographic area.

Applicants selected for funding are not authorized to begin the installation of a conservation practice until they have a NRCS-CPA-1202, Conservation Program Contract, signed by the NRCS Contracting Officer.

Fiscal Year 2018 Screening Tools

Round 1

Screening Tool FY18 Joint Chiefs

Screening Tool FY18 Organic

Screening tool FY18 Sage Grouse Initiative

Screening tool FY18 WA Air Quality Initiative

Screening_tool_FY18_Beginning Farmer/Socially Disdvantaged_Conservation Activity Plans

Screening_tool_FY18_National_Energy & Energy CAP

Screening_tool_FY18_WA_NRCS_EQIP_Wildfire

Screening tool FY18_High Tunnel Systems

Screening tool FY18 WA CNMP Imp pool

Round 2

Screening tool FY18 Tribal

Screening tool FY18 Big Bend Team Local Work Group

Screening tool FY18 Northeast Team Local Work Group

Screening tool FY18 Palouse Local Work Group

Screening Tool FY18 South Central Team Local Work Group

Screening tool FY18 Southwest Team Local Work Group Forest

Screening tool FY18 Southwest Team Local Work Group High Tunnel

Screening tool FY18 West Palouse Team Local Work Group

Screening tool FY18 Snake River Team Local Work Group

Screening tool FY18 North Central Team Local Work Group

Screening tool FY18 Northwest Team Local Work Group

Screening tool FY18 Puget Sound Team Local Work Group

Screening tool FY18 Southwest Team Local Work Group Crop

Screening tool FY18  Southwest Team Local Work Group Headquarters

Screening tool FY18 Southwest Team Local Work Group Pasture

2018 EQIP Ranking Tools and Practice Lists

Round 1

FY18 Ranking tool Sage Grouse Initiative

FY18 Ranking tool WA Statewide Conservation Activity Plans, Beginning Farmer and Socially Disadvantaged pools.

FY18 State and National Questions 

FY18 Application Ranking Summary Conservation Activity Plans

FY18 Ranking tool Energy & Conservation Activity Plan

FY18 Ranking tool High Tunnel Systems

FY18 Ranking tool Rest and Deferred

FY18 Ranking tool Joint Chiefs without hold downs

FY18 Ranking tool Organic 

FY18 Ranking tool Air Quality for Forest

FY18 Ranking tool Air Quality PM10

FY18 Ranking tool Air Quality State

FY18 Ranking tool CNMP Imp

Round 2

Ranking Tool FY18 Big Bend Team

Ranking Tool FY18 North Central Team Local Work Group

Ranking Tool FY18 Puget Sound Team Local Work Group Summary

Ranking Tool FY18 Snake River Team Local Work Group

Ranking Tool FY18 West Palouse Team Local Work Group

Ranking Tool FY18 Southwest Team Local Work Group

Ranking Tool FY18 Northwest Team packet

Ranking Tool FY18 Palouse Team Local Work Group

Ranking Tool FY18 South Central Team

Ranking Tool FY18 Northeast Team

Ranking Tool FY18 Tribal

Practice Payment Schedule

Program Benefits for Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, and Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: EQIP provides enhanced benefits to historically underserved program participants. Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, and Beginning Farmers & Ranchers refers to groups that have not participated in or that in the past have received limited benefits through USDA programs. Click here for more information about Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers & Ranchers.

Funding Distribution

The distribution of EQIP financial assistance funds in Washington State will be accomplished by allocating funds to (10 Local Work Groups, 1 Tribal Work Group).  The allocation to each Work Group was determined by the conservation needs in each Local or Tribal Work Group, national and state priorities and the time required to address the Local Work Groups conservation needs as well as national and state priorities. 

Contact

Your local NRCS Field Office for assistance.

Alan Fulk,
NRCS Program Liaison
2145 Basin St. SW, Suite D
Ephrata, WA  98823-9451

(509) 717-3260
E-mail: alan.fulk@wa.usda.gov