David Dodge wrote:I would like to transform my 15 acres with some Silvopasture tree plantings. To do this I'd like to set up a greenhouse for starting seedlings. I know the EQIP program has a high tunnel initiative but i remember hearing you mention something in a podcast about going through the organic program to maximize the offering from the NRCS. Can you explain this a bit more? I'd like to go camp out at the local office and sound like I know what I'm talking about. Thanks in advance for your help.
There are lots of good folks at NRCS, and their jobs are to conserve soil and improve both crop production and environmental quality. Permies want to do all of this...and BUILD soil, so it's a great match of intentions!
The first thing you can do is download the EQIP Practice List for your state and browse it to know what is likely possible. I did 30 seconds of Googling, and Texas has it hidden pretty well...but I know it's out there somewhere. Usually "_YourState_ EQIP Practice List" is enough to bring it up. I'm posting a slide from Iowa's 2015 list below. The entire Iowa list is here.
The practice code for the Seasonal High Tunnel is 798. That practice code number is universal in any state, though it may not be supported everywhere.
Notice the four different payment rates in the bottom right.
EQIP, EQIP - HU, EQIP - Initiative, and EQIP - Initiative - HU.
EQIP = Environmental Quality Incentive Program (this is the base rate available to anyone who qualifies
EQIP - HU = Historically Underserved. (this is a higher payment rate for those that are considered historically underserved (HU) by the USDA. You can learn what qualifies as HU here. As a 34-yr old white male, I qualify as 'HU' because I have been farming less than 10 years.)
EQIP - Initiative = regular EQIP, but a higher payment rate to address an "initiative" Each state is often allotted a special pool of funds to address high-priority concerns for their respective area. In Iowa, the recent initiatives have been Livestock, High Tunnels, Cover Crops, and Organic Transition. Ask your rep about any initiatives currently in effect for your area.
EQIP - Initiative - HU= addressing both those HU and an initiative. e.g., in my case I'm an HU individual implementing practices in several initiatives (Organic and Livestock, and Organic and Seasonal High Tunnel) There is NO stacking of multiple initiatives for an even higher rate, but you can access different initiatives for different practices. Also worth noting (as of 2014 anyway) that there is a $20,000/yr payment cap for Organic Initiatives.
Also worth noting, NRCS doesn't consider EQIP a 'grant' program, they call it a cost-share - or something near that.
I think you're definitely headed down the right track!
Also....NEVER SAY PERMACULTURE in an NRCS office! Say "agroforestry"!!!
David Dodge wrote:Yes, thank you Grant. Invaluable info here. I was able to find some basic info on the Texas EQIP program so I'll head on down to the county office to start the process. One thing I noticed was they ask for an adjusted gross income statement. I'm not a poverty level farmer looking for limited resource aid and I'm not rich either but is there a level where they say you make too much money for us to give you any of ours?
Yes, you need to be under $900,000/yr AGI. So, if you make less than NINE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR, you're still eligible for EQIP. That's seriously the cap. Used to be 500k, now 900k.