Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Purpose of this program:

Technical, and financial assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. This program provides assistance to farmers and ranchers in complying with Federal, State, and tribal environmental laws, and encourages environmental enhancement. The purpose of this program is achieved through the implementation of structural, vegetative, and land management practices on eligible land. This program is funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). NRCS provides overall program management and implementation leadership for conservation planning and implementation. The Farm Service Agency provides assistance for administrative processes and procedures for the program.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

Technical assistance is provided in conservation planning for eligible participants. Financial assistance is provided for implementation of structural, and land management practices. Cost-share payments may be made to implement one or more eligible structural or vegetative practices. Incentive payments can be made to implement one or more land management practices. Fifty percent of the funding available for technical, cost-share payments, incentive payments, shall be targeted at practices relating to livestock production.

Who is eligible to apply...

Agricultural producers who face serious threats to soil, water, and related natural resources, or who need assistance with complying with Federal and State environment laws. A participant may be an owner, landlord, operator, or tenant of eligible agricultural lands. Limited resource producers, small-scale producers, producers of minority groups, Federally recognized Indian tribal governments, Alaska natives, and Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:
Credentials/Documentation

Evidence that applicant has control over land to be entered into contract and submits an acceptable conservation plan for the farm or ranch unit of concern that incorporates needed natural resource conservation practices and provide either a social security number or individual tax identification number of all proposed beneficiaries. Applicants claiming either limited resource producer or beginning farmer classification may be asked to provide documents to justify their claim. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Program participation is voluntary. The applicant applies at the local USDA Service Center on Form CCC-1200. Applications may be filed at any time during the year. The participant develops an EQIP plan of operations that identifies what conservation practices they are proposing to implement. Technical assistance,and cost-share or incentive payments may be provided to apply needed conservation practices and land use adjustments within a time schedule specified by the conservation EQIP plan of operations. A contract with a participant may apply one or more land management practices or one or more structural practices.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

NRCS will give special consideration to applicants who have a who have an EQIP plan of operations that address the locally designated priority natural resource concerns designated. Applications will be periodically ranked and selected for funding based on locally developed ranking process. These criteria can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ eqip/EQIP_signup/2003%20EQIP%20Signup/2003_EQIP.html.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...

Deadlines

None.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 10 to 60 days.

Preapplication Coordination

None. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102 and E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.

Appeals

A participant may appeal any adverse determination to the FSA county committee.

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Renewals

Not applicable.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

To be eligible the agricultural producers must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions and in compliance with the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) payment limitations.

Beneficiaries
About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Direct Payments for Specified Use

Financial assistance from the Federal government provided directly to individuals, private firms, and other private institutions to encourage or subsidize a particular activity by conditioning the receipt of the assistance on a particular performance by the recipient. This does not include solicited contracts for the procurement of goods and services for the Federal government.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Cost-share and incentive payments are limited to $10,000 per person per year and to $50,000 over the length of the contract. Average contract payments are estimated to be $15,000.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.

Obligations

(Grants) FY 02 $160,122,232; FY 03 est $164,470,000; and FY 04 est $162,000,000. (Salaries and expenses) FY 03 $37,989,132; FY 04 est $35,530,000; and FY 05 est $38,000,000. (Education Assistance) FY 03 $1,831,436; FY 04 & FY 05 est will not exceed 1% of grants obligations estimate.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification

12-4336-0-1-302.

Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

No projects were funded at the time of publication.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

Over 1,300 State priority areas were submitted. These proposals far exceeded the available funds for fiscal year 1998. When fund allocations were made to the States, it resulted in 655 approved priority areas being funded. Over 55,000 applications were received in fiscal year 1998. NRCS estimates that it would require over $490 million to fully fund all of the applications received last year, alone, which is three times the available financial assistance funds. After NRCS ranked the applications based on criteria developed at the local and state level, FSA county committees approved over 19,800 long- term contracts with farmers and ranchers. The EQIP financial assistance on these contracts will exceed $157 million over the 5 to 10 year length of the contracts.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

Applications will be periodically ranked and selected for funding based on: the environmental benefits per dollar expended; the cost-effectiveness of the conversation practices; the environmental benefits derived; extent to which the contract will assist the applicant in complying with Federal, State, tribal or local environmental laws; whether the land is located in a priority area and the extent the contract will assist the priority area goals and objectives.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

An EQIP contract expires one year after the last planned practice is implemented but cannot be longer than 10 years. Obligations for assistance are tied to the schedule for applying conservation practices included in the EQIP plan of operations conservation plan used as the basis for the ontract. Payments are made when the participant and NRCS certify that conservation practice is completed in accordance with contract. Technical assistance may be provided by a certified Technical Service Provider This assistance will be reimbursed based upon not-to-exceed rates. These payments will be made after the services of the certified Technical Service Provider have been provided in accordance with NRCS standards and specifications.

Formula and Matching Requirements

Conservation practices may be eligible for cost-sharing up to 75 percent of the total cost of establishing the practice. Incentive payments can be made for land management practices in an amount and rate that NRCS determines is necessary to encourage a participant to perform the practice that would not otherwise be initiated without government assistance. Limited resource producers and beginning farmers may be eligible for cost-sharing up to 90 percent.

Note:
A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...

Reports

There are no reports and the participants makes an annual status review during the length of the contract that includes maintenance of completed contract items and need for deletion or addition of contract items. Participants must operate and maintain a conservation practice for its intended purpose for the life span of the practice.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.

Audits

Natural Resources Conservation Service makes periodic random reviews of the operation and maintenance of the contract items during the life span of the conservation practice. Participants are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).

Records

Maintained in local NRCS office, FSA county office, and Federal record centers for specified number of years.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.

Regulations...

Authorization

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (the 2002 Act) (Public Law 107-171, May 13, 2002) re-authorized and amended the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which had been added to the Food Security Act of 1985 (the 1985 Act) (16 U.S.C. 3801 et seq.) by the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (the 1996 Act) (Pub. L. 104-127).

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

7 CFR Part 1466. Program is announced through news media and in announcements to agricultural producers, farm and ranch owners and operators in the county. Program manuals, handbooks, and leaflets issued by NRCS and FSA.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

For more information on this and other related conservation programs, consult the local telephone directory where your land is located for location of the USDA service center. NRCS, FSA, and many local conservation districts are located in USDA service centers. For a list of NRCS State offices with telephone numbers and addresses, see appropriate Additional Contact Information - FMR Help.

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Deputy Chief for Natural Resource Conservation Programs, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 2890, Washington, DC 20013. Attn: Deputy Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Programs. Telephone: (202) 720-1845. FAX: (202) 720-4265.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: