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How EQIP Works in Texas and how to Apply for EQIP Programs



How EQIP Works in Texas

EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program)

EQIP is a continuous sign-up program that allows landowners or operators to apply for financial assistance in order to plan and apply certain conservation practices. Higher priority will be given to those applications that address national, state and local priorities and provide higher cost efficiency.

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas supports the locally led process through local work groups and provides a portion of each years’ EQIP funding to to meet local resource needs. The State Technical Committee provides input in determining the conservation practices that will be eligible for financial assistance to treat the identified resource concerns.

In Texas, financial assistance funds are used to address the National, Statewide and local high priority resource concerns identified through the locally led process. Landowners and operators will work with local field office staff to select the suite of conservation practices that best meets the resource needs and is the least cost alternative.

Payments for installed conservation practice swill be made in accordance with NRCS conservation practice standards. The statewide payment rate for each practice is on a per unit basis. The payment schedule for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (SDAFR), US Military Veterans, and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers (BFR) are set at higher levels than the standard rates.

A Conservation Plan of Operations will be developed to support the EQIP application and contract if accepted. The minimum contract period will be one year following implementation of the last conservation practice but cannot exceed 10 years. Technical assistance will be provided by NRCS or, if desired, by a private Technical Service Provider (TSP) funded by NRCS if funds are available.

Producer Eligibility

In order to be considered an agricultural producer eligible for EQIP, the applicant must be able to show that they have a vested interest in an operation that can potentially produce of agricultural products. Agricultural producers of non-industrial private forest land are exempt from this requirement.

There are, however, circumstances that may limit an individual’s or entity’s participation; these include:

  • Federal and state governments and political subdivisions thereof, are not eligible.
  • The applicant must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions.
  • The individual or entity may not be eligible due to Adjusted Gross Income provisions as determined by the Farm Service Agency (FSA).

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be considered for EQIP funding the applicant must be determined to be an eligible producer by the NRCS. The land offered for EQIP must also be determined eligible by NRCS. Eligible land is land that has a resource concern identified by a certified conservation planner that can be addressed through application of eligible conservation practices. The participant must complete and sign all necessary forms including the NRCS-CPA-1200 and any.* eligibility forms required by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in order to participate. 

* Applications are accepted year around and funding of applicants varies throughout the year.

Ranking Pools

Eligible persons may select to apply in any funding pool that provides them the best opportunity for funding and that will provide the assistance needed to address their resource concerns. Typically, ranking pools are established by land use or a special initiative are.

Source


How to Apply for EQIP

A conservation plan is the basis for an EQIP application. Applicants will need an up-to-date conservation plan that describes the conservation practices to be implemented, the timing of the implementation, the practice location, and the conservation benefit to be achieved.

Applicants are encouraged to request conservation planning and technical assistance from their local NRCS field office to help with the development of a conservation plan prior to applying for financial assistance through EQIP.

Interested applicants may apply for EQIP by completing the application, Form NRCS-CPA-1200, Conservation Program Application, and submitting the application to their local NRCS field office in person, by phone, email, or fax.

Application Process

  1. Apply for EQIP by completing the application, Form NRCS-CPA-1200, Conservation Program Application, and submitting it to the field office in the county in which you own land.


  2. Since EQIP sign-up is continuous, there may be more than one window of opportunity for funding your application based on available funding each fiscal year.


  3. If an application is dated after the close of an application ranking cut-off period, the application will automatically be deferred to the next application ranking cut-off period.


  4. In order to be eligible for EQIP, the applicant and the land must be determined eligible by NRCS.


  5. In order to be considered an agricultural producer eligible for EQIP, the applicant must have a vested interest in production agricultural or non-industrial private forest land.


  6. A conservation planner will develop a conservation plan and determine if the land offered for EQIP has eligible resource concern(s) that can be addressed through implementation of approved EQIP conservation practices.


  7. NRCS ranks the application using criteria developed for the appropriate fund pool.


  8. If the application is selected for financial assistance, the applicant will work with NRCS to make an appointment to finalize the conservation plan and schedule of operations prior to signing the contract for fund obligation.


  9. Both NRCS and the participant must sign the contract prior to implementation of any planned conservation practices. Any practice scheduled for financial assistance commenced prior to fund obligation is ineligible for payment.

Applicant's Responsibility

  1. An applicant must provide a correct legal name, address and social security number or tax identification number to NRCS.


  2. The applicant must be able to provide proof, upon request, that they have control of the land for the proposed contract period.


  3. Applicant must provide a landowner agreement to install structural practices if the applicant does not own the land.


  4. Applicants must be determined eligible by NRCS prior to the start of ranking cut-off periods in order to be considered for funding.


  5. If approved for funding, the participant must begin implementation of at least one approved conservation practice within the first 12 months of the contract, and continue practice implementation according to the contract schedule.


  6. Applicants will need an up-to-date conservation plan that describes the conservation practices to be implemented, the timing of the implementation, the practice location, and the conservation benefit to be achieved.


  7. Form SF-1199A, Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form, must be completed and submitted to the NRCS field office in order to receive electronic payment.


  8. The applicant must complete and submit to the FSA county office or NRCS field office, Form AD-1026, "Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification."


  9. Form CCC-931, "Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Certification and Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information," must be completed by the applicant and submitted to the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office or NRCS field office.


  10. If the applicant is an entity or joint operation, Form CCC-901A, Member’s Information, will be required.


  11. If the applicant is an entity or a joint operation, members may be required to submit to the FSA county office or NRCS field office, Form AD-1026, "Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification."


  12. If the applicant is an entity or joint operation, members must complete From CCC-931, "Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Certification and Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information," and submit to the local FSA county office or NRCS field office.


  13. If the applicant files taxes under with an EIN (Employer Identification Number) then the applicant must provide a Dun and Bradstreet DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS), number and register the DUNS number with System Award Management (SAM) at the website. If an applicant receives a contract the DUNS number must be annually re-registered with SAM. No fees are associated with DUNS numbers or SAM registration.
  14. Limited resource producers and beginning farmers and ranchers must be able to provide proof, upon request, that they meet the criteria for a limited resource producer or a beginning farmer or rancher.

Contacts

Contact your local field office for more information.

Find your local office at the link below.

USDA Service Center Locator

Source


Texas EQIP Fact Sheets

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