|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 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 branch.
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."