Pennsylvania NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Posted: April 27, 2010
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program administrated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It supports production agriculture and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, growers may receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and land management conservation practices on eligible agricultural land. State priorities are reviewed annually. A State Technical Committee comprised of representatives from commodity groups and conservation partners advise NRCS on the implementation of EQIP. 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.
Changes for 2008
It is anticipated that the new Farm Bill will be passed within the next 6 months. Currently it has wording for significant funding for specialty crops for the first time. In anticipation of increased participation in conservation programs from specialty crops and in IPM, Pennsylvania NRCS has implemented a number of changes as it transitions IPM away from the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program into EQIP. The following changes for 2008 are now in place:
1. Conservation program applications (Form NRCS-CPA-1200 available at the USDA-NRCS Pennsylvania web site at www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/programs or at the PA IPM web site at (http://paipm.cas.psu.edu/resources/nrcs.htm). An additional earlier ranking cycle as been set, with the due date to have applications considered in that cycle of October 31, 2007. Additional signup dates are Nov. 30 and Feb. 1, 2008, if funds remain after earlier ranking cycles.
2. Ranking Sheets for pest management applications have been changed to give higher priority to ecologically based IPM options. Pesticide handling facilities are still available, but receive no points in the ranking. Growers that have not previously had a Pest Management contract are given preference over growers who have had a contract already. Growers that have cancelled previous contracts with NRCS or are currently not in compliance with their contracts will be assigned a low priority.
3. There is an annual total payment cap of $15,000 for Pest Management incentive payments under new contracts. Practices with conservation codes other than 595 do not count towards this limit.
4. EQIP has a $450,000 payment cap over the life of the 2002 Farm Bill.
5. The table below indicates the Practice Payment Rates for Pest Management/IPM (595) options and for some of the other practices that might be of interest in 2008. A specialty crop grower (tree fruit) would be theoretically be limited to $160/A if they implemented all possible IPM options.
595 Pest Management Basic IPM Field & Forage Crops - Scouting $10/A
595 Pest Management Basic IPM Specialty Crops - Scouting $20/A
595 Pest Management Precision Application (Smart Sprayers, Conversion from ARM to Complete Sprays)
Biological Control - T. pyri, Trichogramma etc. $20/A
595 Pest Management Ecologically Based IPM - 1 method* $40/A
595 Pest Management Ecologically Based IPM - 2 methods* $80/A
595 Pest Management Ecologically Based IPM - 3 methods* $120/A
Some Other Agricultural Conservation Options
330 Contour Farming Contour Farming $20/A
330 Contour Farming Contour Orchard and other Fruit Area $20/A
332 Contour Buffer Strips Native $210//AA
332 Contour Buffer Strips Native + Forbs (additional wildflowers) $275/A
332 Contour Buffer Strips Non-native $165/A
340 Cover Crop Annual Cover $20/A
340 Cover Crop No-Till Planting $20/A
386 Field Border Cut Back Border $195/A
386 Field Border Native $210/A
386 Field Border Native + Forbs (additional wildflowers) $275/A
386 Field Border Non-Native $165/A
393 Filter Strip Seeding/Mulching, Earth moving $670A
393 Filter Strip Seeding/Mulching, seed bed prep $335/A
393 Filter Strip
*Ecologically-Based IPM options are defined at the PA IPM website and include 1 species mating disruption, 2 species mating disruption, reduced risk pesticide IPM, and advanced disease and insect monitoring (consultant level).