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NRCS EQUIP Program

westonwhitetail

5 year old buck +
I'm wondering what other's experience with the EQIP Program through NRCS has been like. I met with the NRCS and DNR forester yesterday and learned some information. Essentially it sounded like the EQIP Programs will pay for 75% of initial plantings, whether it is trees/shrubs, prairie, butterfly, NWSG plantings, etc. There is no annual payment for this program. Is this what others have experienced going through it? I was under the impression prior to the meeting that there were annual payments, just shorter contract lengths compared to CRP (5 vs. 10-15).

I have a 15 acre field on my property that I may be interested in converting to cover, because cover is lacking in my woods. The woods is in MFL so I cannot log it for 7-8 years if I re-enroll. (Contract is up in 3 years, so I could get out and log it then).

I was hoping to use the EQIP or CRP programs to help develop some cover in the field and also get some annual revenue back that would be lost from AG rent. It seems like CRP may be the only option to get that annual payment benefit? CRP has a lower initial cost share though...(50%). What are your guy's experiences/thoughts?
 

BenAllgood

5 year old buck +
Ask them specifically about CSP, Conservation Stewardship Programs. Those will have annual payments and have EQIP like practices. EQIP is a one time payment that in some cases can pay more than what it costs. I went with EQIP due to the shorter time commitment and the upfront payments.
 

willy

5 year old buck +
My experience with Eqip is they never have the money after all the paperwork is done. Try again next year has been their motto.
 

BenAllgood

5 year old buck +
My experience with Eqip is they never have the money after all the paperwork is done. Try again next year has been their motto.
It's probably more competitive in different areas. In mine, I haven't had a problem yet, and the money hits my account pretty quick.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
EQIP worked great for us. Our plan included, clear-cutting about 20 acres of low quality hardwoods to keep in early succession for bedding and thinning and burning about 100 acres of pines. The activities they paid for were creating firebreaks, herbicide application in the clear-cut, and conducting controlled burns. They paid so much per liner foot for firebreaks and so much per acre for controlled burns and herbicide application. We were responsible to front any money and get the work accomplished. We could either hire out or do it ourselves. After a task item was complete NRCS came in and inspected it. They then issued payment.

Since we were new at the time, we contracted everything out. The cost of the firebreak installation and controlled burns was slightly less than NRCS paid us. The cost of the herbicide application was a bit more than NRCS paid. We came close to breaking even from a financial perspective, so we effectively got habitat work done that we would have otherwise had to pay for. Of course, the logging was an income source that way more than paid for any added cost.

That took care of about 1/2 of our pines. It is now quite a few years later and we have just entered the EQIP program for the other half of our property. We found the program very beneficial. Now that we are more experienced with property and timber management, we will be doing much of the work ourselves.

Thanks,

Jack
 

westonwhitetail

5 year old buck +
Ask them specifically about CSP, Conservation Stewardship Programs. Those will have annual payments and have EQIP like practices. EQIP is a one time payment that in some cases can pay more than what it costs. I went with EQIP due to the shorter time commitment and the upfront payments.

She did mention that program too, sounds like it was less up front but you get annual payments and they are close to a wash in the end.


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westonwhitetail

5 year old buck +
My experience with Eqip is they never have the money after all the paperwork is done. Try again next year has been their motto.

Well I’m hoping my field would be a high priority with steep slopes, but like anything with government it’s never easy I’m sure


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westonwhitetail

5 year old buck +
EQIP worked great for us. Our plan included, clear-cutting about 20 acres of low quality hardwoods to keep in early succession for bedding and thinning and burning about 100 acres of pines. The activities they paid for were creating firebreaks, herbicide application in the clear-cut, and conducting controlled burns. They paid so much per liner foot for firebreaks and so much per acre for controlled burns and herbicide application. We were responsible to front any money and get the work accomplished. We could either hire out or do it ourselves. After a task item was complete NRCS came in and inspected it. They then issued payment.

Since we were new at the time, we contracted everything out. The cost of the firebreak installation and controlled burns was slightly less than NRCS paid us. The cost of the herbicide application was a bit more than NRCS paid. We came close to breaking even from a financial perspective, so we effectively got habitat work done that we would have otherwise had to pay for. Of course, the logging was an income source that way more than paid for any added cost.

That took care of about 1/2 of our pines. It is now quite a few years later and we have just entered the EQIP program for the other half of our property. We found the program very beneficial. Now that we are more experienced with property and timber management, we will be doing much of the work ourselves.

Thanks,

Jack

Sounds like you found some programs that really worked out well for you. I was surprised doing research ahead of time all the programs they had. But my woods was too nice to qualify for some of the ones I was interested in. There needs to be a resource concern to be addressed. Like your firebreaks and thinning.

I guess they pay based on regional average for cost of practices, so if you do it yourself or shop around you could make some money otherwise it’s generally 75-80%


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yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Sounds like you found some programs that really worked out well for you. I was surprised doing research ahead of time all the programs they had. But my woods was too nice to qualify for some of the ones I was interested in. There needs to be a resource concern to be addressed. Like your firebreaks and thinning.

I guess they pay based on regional average for cost of practices, so if you do it yourself or shop around you could make some money otherwise it’s generally 75-80%


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We looked at the CSP program a year or two ago. At least at the time, we found onerous documentation and very low payments. We decided the administrative headache was not worth the funding. NRCS was pushing it pretty hard. They came back the next year saying they had improved it. We decided to go with EQIP again. We may look at CSP again in the future to see if it has changed enough to be worthwhile for us.

Thanks,

Jack
 

BenAllgood

5 year old buck +
I went with EQIP first. Where CSP makes sense for me is after my 5 year EQIP contract. I can keep my existing practices under maintenance with annual payments for CSP. Using EQIP for establishing and CSP for 5 year maintenance after.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
I went with EQIP first. Where CSP makes sense for me is after my 5 year EQIP contract. I can keep my existing practices under maintenance with annual payments for CSP. Using EQIP for establishing and CSP for 5 year maintenance after.

Yep, I think it depends on what you are doing. Our land is mostly timber management so we can't take advantage of some of the more lucrative paying ag practices that we are doing anyway. I'm not saying CSP doesn't make sense for some situation or that it won't evolve to make sense to us. I'm just saying that our first experience with it was not a good fit for us.
 

J B

A good 3 year old buck
Depending on how steep it is, I’d look at renting out for row crops for a few years to get the crop history with the Fsa office. Alfalfa and clover usually does not qualify. Then, it should qualify for annual crp payments as long as the program is accepting new acres in your county at that time. You may have the option of crp grasses or crp trees for cover. You could still plant your screens now and leave some crop standing for a winter food. Having food on the property should help with the hunting also for the time being. If the acreage is small you may not get a lot of rent though. Small fields can be a pain for today’s farmers. Corn and bean prices are high so someone would likely jump on it if the ground isn’t all sand. It would keep you in ag taxes vs recreational taxes on that ground while in the crp program also. Good luck either way!
 

williams111

5 year old buck +
I went with the REAP program. My property is small, only about 12 acres of timber and the same amount of row crops. I walked the property with a State Forester and learned a ton. He decided I would qualify for the minimum 3 acres. He basically asked what I wanted to do and we came up with a plan. Weed Tree Removal and Tree planting is what he called it. If I recall correctly the total payment was $750/acre. I did it all on my own and kept track of time/receipts. After the project was complete I submitted time/receipts to NRCS office and they inspected it and then I received a check. They said Equip paid a little more, but requires more of a paper trail. Receipts, Invoices and any other documents. They suggested if I wanted to do it on my own REAP would be a better option.
 

BenAllgood

5 year old buck +
To cut down on paperwork, tell the FSA and NRCS that you want to use OneSpan. It enables you to digitally sign documents and they get them immediately. Use the term OneSpan specifically. There's also Box, but you have to still print and sign and scan documents. OneSpan cuts all that out.
 

westonwhitetail

5 year old buck +
I went with the REAP program. My property is small, only about 12 acres of timber and the same amount of row crops. I walked the property with a State Forester and learned a ton. He decided I would qualify for the minimum 3 acres. He basically asked what I wanted to do and we came up with a plan. Weed Tree Removal and Tree planting is what he called it. If I recall correctly the total payment was $750/acre. I did it all on my own and kept track of time/receipts. After the project was complete I submitted time/receipts to NRCS office and they inspected it and then I received a check. They said Equip paid a little more, but requires more of a paper trail. Receipts, Invoices and any other documents. They suggested if I wanted to do it on my own REAP would be a better option.

I can’t find any info for the REAP program. Was that NRCS? What state


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westonwhitetail

5 year old buck +
Depending on how steep it is, I’d look at renting out for row crops for a few years to get the crop history with the Fsa office. Alfalfa and clover usually does not qualify. Then, it should qualify for annual crp payments as long as the program is accepting new acres in your county at that time. You may have the option of crp grasses or crp trees for cover. You could still plant your screens now and leave some crop standing for a winter food. Having food on the property should help with the hunting also for the time being. If the acreage is small you may not get a lot of rent though. Small fields can be a pain for today’s farmers. Corn and bean prices are high so someone would likely jump on it if the ground isn’t all sand. It would keep you in ag taxes vs recreational taxes on that ground while in the crp program also. Good luck either way!

Thanks, they said they have enough info on the field for farm history. I do have to rent it out this year anyway because the application period is closed I guess for this year. So I’ll get someone to plant it, it’s pretty good soil in the area


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b116757

A good 3 year old buck
We have done this a few times over the years. I did a quail habitat improvement a few years ago they reimbursed me no problem. I haven’t fooled with it lately however.
 

Ben.MN/WI

5 year old buck +
In Wisconsin one thing to keep in mind is to verify that enrolling in those programs won't change the ag tax status on your land. Ag land has an extremely low tax rate, but if you enroll your land in some of those programs it will no longer be considered ag. I looked at that for my Rusk County land and some of those programs are viewed differently from a tax standpoint than CRP (which keeps the ag classification).
 

williams111

5 year old buck +
REAP is a state program here in IA, not sure if WI offers any programs similar to that or not.
 

Tree Spud

5 year old buck +
In Wisconsin one thing to keep in mind is to verify that enrolling in those programs won't change the ag tax status on your land. Ag land has an extremely low tax rate, but if you enroll your land in some of those programs it will no longer be considered ag. I looked at that for my Rusk County land and some of those programs are viewed differently from a tax standpoint than CRP (which keeps the ag classification).

Had land enrolled in WRP, tax status went to recreational which was 5 times the tax cost of AG.
 
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