EQIP is one of the best programs out there for small farmers – if you’d like to do something the US government considers a conservation practice, chances are you can get reimbursed for some or even most of the expense.
The catch? Well, it moves at the speed of government. I’m typing this from my farm, where I’m swapping my overhead irrigation every 90 minutes because my EQIP project proposal to increase water pressure and install drip irrigation didn’t get funded this past cycle. I’ll be meeting with my NRCS agent tomorrow to renew the application for this next cycle. And with any luck I’ll get funding, along with a LOT of other farmers, because the Inflation Reduction Act massively increased the funding for conservation practices!
How do you get some of this funding for yourself? Reach out to your NRCS agent ASAP! This program runs through NRCS agents, and building a relationship with yours will pay off. Your NRCS agent visits your farm, talks to you about your long term plans and develops your conservation plan for the property. Then you fill out 4 forms that certify your income, your farmer status, whether your farm includes wetlands, and member information if you have a separate legal entity for your farm.
Different states have different deadlines for consideration in an EQIP cycle, and some states have specific areas of conservation that they focus on. We haven’t found anywhere that pulls all of that info together, so we called some NRCS offices and did the job ourselves. For 2023, the EQIP cycle deadlines are below:
|Colorado||agricultural impropvements and private property||1-Dec|
|Delaware||crop land, wood land, pasture, farmstead||17-Nov|
|DoC||conservation related work, infrastructure release act||unknown|
|Idaho||all practices||“come and gone”|
|Maine||Actively taking applications for management plans||25-Aug|
|New Jersey||all practices||20-Oct|
|New Mexico||all practices||3-Nov|
|New York||all practices||3-Nov|
|North Carolina||all practices||3-Nov|
|North Dakota||all practices||17-Nov|
|Ohio||all practices||continuous sign up|
|Rhode Island||all practices||15-Dec|
|South Dakota||all practices||3-Nov|
|West Virginia||all practices||20-Oct|
Now, you’ll notice some blanks in this table – we did our best, but we can’t spend all day chasing down government officials without a client to serve. If you’re in one of the states we’re missing and you know the dates, let us know!