STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist, Amanda Mathis, has announced the agency is accepting applications for Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). Oklahomans whose land use includes cropland, rangeland, pasture and private non-industrial forestland are eligible to apply. The deadline for applying in the current batching period is December 9, 2022.
Those applying for EQIP must:
- Control or own eligible land
- Comply with adjusted gross income limitation provisions
- Follow highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements
- Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations
It is important to note that starting a practice prior to written contract approval will result in the ineligibility of that practice for EQIP assistance unless a waiver has been approved. Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.
Oklahoma’s state priorities are developed annually from input from local workgroups based on county resource assessments and individual plans to address those local needs. The State Technical Committee comprised of representation from these local work groups, Tribal groups, commodity groups, and conservation partners advise NRCS on the implementation of EQIP.
The following national priorities, consistent with statutory resources concern that include soil, water, wildlife, air quality, and related natural resource concerns, may be used in determining EQIP priority implementation:
- Water Quality Improvement
- Soil Quality Improvement
- Source Water Depletion
EQIP activities are carried out according to a site-specific conservation plan developed in conjunction with the producer. All conservation practices are installed according to NRCS technical standards. Oklahoma’s producers may elect to use an approved technical service provider for technical assistance.
While EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis, NRCS establishes application “cut-off” or submission deadline dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers and submitted applications may be considered or evaluated in multiple funding pool opportunities.
Oklahoma producers who apply are responsible for completing and filing all application and eligibility paperwork as required. If funded, participants are required to sign a contract and agree to implement the planned conservation practices to NRCS standards and specifications as scheduled.
The 2018 Farm Bill provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and services. Oklahoma 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. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) includes provisions that address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged, beginning, limited resource, and veteran farmers and ranchers. 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.
Visit the USDA New Farmers website (newfarmers.usda.gov) for tips on getting started. For Information on Ranking Criteria, Screening, Eligible Practices, and Approved Payment Rates see County, Statewide, and National Initiatives web pages at NRCS National EQIP
To apply for EQIP, producers should contact their local NRCS field office, to be considered in the current application period ending December 9, 2022.
–USDA NRCS Oklahoma