Missouri Farmers: Apply for EQIP Before November 20th

Written by FarmRaise Advisor, JC Danilovich, on October 6, 2020. 

Photo from visittheusa.com

November 20th, 2020, is the Missouri deadline for the National Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP. FarmRaise can help farmers apply for EQIP, and other grants like it.

What is EQIP?

EQIP is a national funding pool that farmers can access to implement practices that address a resource concern on the farm and promote conservation. In 2019, EQIP obligations amounted to a massive $1.7bn.  Almost $50 million of this was spent in Missouri, with an average annual award of around $35,000 per farm. The application cycle for 2021 has opened in Missouri and will close on November 20th.

What does EQIP Fund?

Popular practices funded by EQIP include:

  • Cover cropping,
  • Forest stand improvements,
  • Fencing and water supplies to improve your grazing management,
  • Creating a soil health plan,
  • Irrigation improvements,
  • Protecting streams and waterways on the farm by installing riparian buffer areas.

 

How does EQIP work?

EQIP is a cost-share program, so farmers have to have the up-front cash to be able to fund the practice, and then they can reimburse expenses with the EQIP dollars. Farmers should not start a project until they know they’re approved for EQIP, because that’s important for the reimbursement. Cost-share means EQIP will cover up to 75% of costs for most farmers and up to 90% of costs for those farmers who are underserved (limited resource farmers, farmers of color, veterans, beginning farmers). 

Dollars must be used to address or avoid resource concerns on the land you own or operate. Resource concerns can vary from soil health issues to water quality issues. Technical assistance is provided by the NRCS and certified technical service providers to assist successful farmer applicants in conservation planning and implementation.

How do you apply to EQIP?

The application process for EQIP involves over 6 different forms that you must fill out and submit to the USDA Farm Service Agency and NRCS offices in your local county. For farmers who have not yet registered with FSA, you will go through a self-certification process and complete some forms to verify your operating plan and business structure (if relevant). All EQIP applicants will also need to fill out a form to verify your land’s status with regard to highly erodible land or wetlands. You will also need to certify that your income – and the income of your business and all owners – is below the threshold of $900,000. You can access these forms online in various places, or you can apply through FarmRaise, where we’ve pulled all forms together in one place and removed jargon. 

After submitting your paper application to the USDA, NRCS representatives will contact you to take the next step. This usually involves some conservation planning, in which an NRCS specialist will work with you to understand the resource concerns and conservation opportunities on your property, and then match you to funding pools within the EQIP program. 

How can FarmRaise help farmers, in Missouri, and beyond?

FarmRaise is the one-stop-shop that connects farmers with different sorts, and the right combination, of capital – commercial loans, impact investments, and grant funding.  We have developed a comprehensive database of different grant options available to farmers, including EQIP.  FarmRaise helps farmers get their financial reports in shape, and guides farmers through the funding process.  Get started by setting up your FarmRaise account, and applying for EQIP within – it’s free!