DOVER, N.H. — Agriculture or forest landowners in New Hampshire:
If you are interested in protecting, conserving, or restoring the natural resources on your property through technical or financial assistance, contact your local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field office to begin the conservation planning process.
Once an NRCS Conservation Plan is developed and you are interested in competing for financial assistance to implement practices from your Conservation Plan, work with NRCS to determine which program best suits your conservation needs. Applications for the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) program may be submitted at any time year-round; however, the next ranking batching date is June 21, 2019. Applications determined to be eligible by 4:30 p.m. on June 21, 2019 may be considered in this funding cycle until dollars have been exhausted. Remaining funds are limited.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) offers technical help for planning and designing conservation practices that protect our water and air, improve soil health, enable us to better care for farm animals, manage animal waste, and sustain our agricultural land. EQIP also offers financial assistance to make these practices more affordable once an application is determined eligible for funding.
Who can participate?
Private landowners and operators who are engaged in forestry, wildlife management, crop, or livestock production on eligible land may be eligible to participate in NRCS programs. Participation is voluntary. Eligible land includes cropland, pasture, hayland, forestland or other lands on which crops or livestock are produced. How do you get started? Call your local NRCS field office to discuss your resource needs and work with staff to develop a conservation plan. A conservation planner will visit your property and identify resource concerns, discuss your goals, inventory resources, and evaluate alternatives. Your goals and objectives, with a list of recommended conservation practices for your farm, will be included in your conservation plan.
How do you apply?
Once you have a conservation plan and would like to apply for funding to help implement your list of recommended conservation practices, we will help you understand the program eligibility process. NRCS will evaluate your completed landowner eligibility forms and needed practices. After you make final practice decisions and agree to move forward, we’ll work with you to finalize your application. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis, but they are considered for funding during specific ranking periods. Once all planning requirements, final decisions and eligibility have been satisfied your application can be ranked and considered for funding.
If you’re not selected for funding in a given batching period, your application will be automatically deferred to the next batching date. Once program funding is exhausted, a deferral letter will be sent with notification that your application is being deferred to the next fiscal year. Some paperwork requires annual updating for the new fiscal year and the NRCS field office servicing your application will notify you of any needed actions for the application to be considered eligible.
The planning process and steps needed to make an application eligible for a given batching period are comprehensive and can take from several months to a year, depending on the practices included in the application. The application process is competitive and there is no guarantee that your application will be eligible and/or selected for funding. Due to the competitive nature of the program, we recommend that all required paperwork and decisions be finalized as soon as possible to maximize chances of your application being considered for funding.
How are applications ranked?
Applications will be ranked according to local resource concerns and the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide. Eligible applications demonstrating the highest environmental benefit in each batching period will be selected for funding until NH program funds have been exhausted.
What is the process for implementing the contract requirements and for getting paid?
Once you have been selected and sign the contract, you will be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice(s) and you will have a specified time to implement them. The contract will be carried out, in part, according to the conservation plan that you developed. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you will receive the predetermined payment rate for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications. All practices established with program funding must be maintained for the life span of the practice.
What are payment rates and is there a limit on how much you can get paid?
NRCS programs offer payment rates for installed practices to eligible producers based on allowable average costs for the region. Historically underserved producers may qualify for a higher practice payment rate. Payments are made to participants once conservation practices are completed according to NRCS requirements and certified by NRCS staff. Contact your local office for more information. General program information is available on the NRCS New Hampshire website at www.nh.nrcs.usda.gov.
–USDA NRCS NH
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