Forest Management Notes
Maryland DNR Forest Service

Cost Share Assistance - EQIP

What is EQIP?

The Environmental Quality Incentive Program is a program authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill; otherwise known as the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. It was signed into law on 5/13/02. It is codified in Title II - Conservation, Subtitle D - Environmental Quality Incentives, sec. 2301.

What does it do?

EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land. Provides incentives in the form of cost share payments to implement conservation practices including forestry management practices on non-industrial private forestland. Program focus is geared towards livestock and agricultural production interests. The majority of practices will likely be funded at 50%. Limited resource producers and beginning farmers and ranchers may be eligible for cost-shares up to 90%.

Who administers the program?

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will administer the program.

How is it funded and at what level?

Funding will be available via the Commodity Credit Corporation to the tune of $1.6 billion from FFY 03 through FFY 07. Sixty percent of the funding will be earmarked for livestock production practices, including grazing. There isn't a set amount designated for forestry related practices.

Who is eligible to receive this funding?

Agricultural producers, individual or entities engaged in livestock, agricultural production or forestry management may participate in EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, grassland, pasture and private non-industrial forestland.

What practices are eligible for financial assistance?

The State Conservationist, with advice of the State Technical Committee, identifies which conservation practices are eligible. Local work groups assist in identifying practices to treat the locally identified resource concerns. All practices must be implemented in conformance to NRCS standards and specifications. Examples of practices include nutrient management, manure management, integrated pest management, irrigation water management and wildlife habitat enhancement. The bill allows for cost share assistance for forestry management practices provided they are acceptable to the above mentioned committees and groups. This is where opportunities exist for forestry to make inroads.

What is the State Technical Committee?

It is an entity authorized under law to provide advice to NRCS State Conservationist on implementation of conservation programs. The membership of the Committee includes representatives of Federal, State and local government agencies, tribes, non-government organizations, conservation districts, business and agriculture producers.

Who serves on the local work groups?

These groups, convened by the conservation district, include representatives from the conservation district board, NRCS, FSA county committees and staff, the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. Other Federal, State, local agencies and agricultural producers are also represented on the local work groups. Forestry minded individuals should gain access to these groups promoting forestry to secure acceptance and funding of forestry conservation practices.

When are the funds expected to be available?

October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2007.

Where can I get additional information?

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