|EQIP -- The Environmental Quality
Incentives Program -- was designed as a voluntary conservation
program for farmers and ranchers to promote agricultural production
and environmental quality as compatible goals. EQIP is not a
grant program instead the government program relies on a ranking
system to determine what projects will be cost-shared.
Registering for an EQIP grant is an easy
two step process.
Step 1: Notify your local office of your interest.
Contact your local office by telephone or download application
form CCC1200 from http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/
This website is also a great resource for information on state
and local priorities and contact information for your local
Step 2: Confirm eligibility. Once you have
submitted the application, you will be contacted by someone
from your local office. Participation is contingent on a few
eligibility requirements. For example, average adjusted gross
income for the previous three years cannot exceed $2.5 million
dollars, the participant must be a farmer or a rancher and
the land in question must be used for agricultural purposes.
But by government standards this program comes with relatively
few hurdles to participation.
Getting the money, however, can be a little trickier, because
the program relies on a ranking system. Success lies in how
closely you stay to the priorities set by your local EQIP
office. "The key is pre-information," says Anthony
Esser, National EQIP program manager. "There is money
available but the reality is 1 out of 6 applications is being
funded." His advice, "Know the ranking process.
If you want to build blue bird boxes but the area's priority
is controlling the soil's
phosphorous levels, you are going to be a low priority."
for more information on applying for a value-added grant.