High Tunnel System EQIP Fund Pool Grant

USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service of California


Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Next anticipated deadline: Jan 19, 2019

Later anticipated deadlines: Apr 6, 2019, Jun 22, 2019

Applicant type: For-Profit Business Nonprofit Working Professional Indigenous Group College / University

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: California

Location of residency: California

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Overview:

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary, conservation program administered by NRCS that can provide financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that address natural resource concerns. The purpose of EQIP is to promote agricultural production, forest management, and environmental quality as compatible goals; to optimize environmental benefits; and to help farmers and ranchers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations. 

About the High Tunnel System Fund Pool

Through the High Tunnel System Initiative NRCS can assist producers to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner. The initiative has the potential to assist producers in addressing a resource concern by extending the growing season, improving soil quality, and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport. Interested owners and/or operators of land managed for agricultural production in California may be eligible for the Seasonal High Tunnel EQIP Initiative.

Land Uses for the EQIP Fund Pool

Only applications for agricultural operations that address resource concerns on at least one land use type listed below will be considered for financial assistance from this EQIP Fund Pool. The descriptions below are the general NRCS land use definitions - applications should fit within, but do not need to exactly match, these descriptions. 

  • Crop: Land used primarily for the production and harvest of annual or perennial field, forage, food, fiber, horticultural, orchard, vineyard, or energy crops. 

Resource Concerns for the EQIP Fund Pool

Only applications for agricultural operations that address at least one resource concern listed below will be considered for financial assistance through this EQIP Fund Pool. The descriptions below are general NRCS natural resource definitions, applications should fit within, but do not need to exactly match, these descriptions 

Soil Quality Degradation – Soil quality degradation effects rooting deeps, plant growth, animal habitat and soil biological activity. 

  • Organic Matter Depletion: Soil organic matter is carbon-rich material that includes plant, animal, and microbial residue in various stages of decomposition. Managing for soil carbon can enhance soil productivity and environmental quality. Increasing soil organic matter levels can reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. Ground and surface water quality can improve too because better structure, infiltration, and biological activity make soil a more effective filter.

Insufficient Water– Water resources are not optimally managed to support ecological  processes, land use objectives and/or water conservation goals. 

  • Inefficient Use of Irrigation Water: Irrigation water is not stored, delivered, scheduled and/or applied efficiently. Aquifer or surface water withdrawals threaten sustained availability of ground or surface water. Available irrigation water supplies have been reduced due to aquifer depletion, competition, regulation and/or drought. 

Water Quality Degradation – Water quality degradation impacts the beneficial use of the receiving waters. 

  • Excess Nutrients in Surface Water: Nutrients, organic and inorganic, are transported to receiving surface waters through runoff in quantities that degrade water quality. Increased nitrogen and phosphorus levels in water can produce excessive aquatic vegetation and algal blooms resulting in reduced dissolved oxygen, harmful toxins, and increased water temperature. 
  • Excess Nutrients in Groundwater: Nutrients, organic and inorganic, are leached into groundwater in quantities that degrade water quality and limit uses for other purposes, for example, public drinking water systems from shallow domestic wells. 
  • Pesticides Transported to Surface Water: Pest control chemicals are transported to receiving surface waters in quantities that degrade water quality. Pesticides typically enter surface water when rainfall or irrigation exceeds the infiltration capacity of soil and resulting runoff transports pesticides to streams, rivers, and other surface-water bodies. 

Degraded Plant Condition – Plant condition degradation can result in stress, disease, insect damage and result in changes to the structure and composition of plant communities. 

  • Undesirable Plant Productivity and Health: Plants must be adapted to the site and provided with appropriate amounts of nutrients, water, and sunshine, and protected from unchecked animal, weed, insect, and disease pests. Plants established in the wrong climate or soil may be under stress and may never thrive, no matter how much fertilizer or water supplied. Natural events, such as drought, or mismanagement can cause plant stress. Plants under stress are more susceptible to disease and insect damage. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • To be eligible to participate in EQIP, an applicant must meet all of the following producer eligibility criteria:
    • Be an agricultural producer.
    • Have control of the land for the term of the contract period.
    • Have landowner concurrence to implement structural or vegetative practices, if applicable.
    • Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation compliance provisions.
    • Be in compliance with adjusted gross income (AGI) requirements.
    • Be within payment limitation requirements.
    • Be within annual payment limitation requirements, if applicable.
    • Have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number registered in the System for Award Management (SAM), if applicable.
    • Be in compliance with the provisions for protecting the interests of tenants and sharecroppers.
    • See full details and definitions for Producer Eligibility here
  • To be eligible for EQIP, the land must meet all of the following criteria:
    • Be agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, Tribal land, or other land on which agricultural products, livestock, or forest-related products are produced.
    • Be privately owned land, eligible public land, or Tribal land.
    • Have landowner concurrence to implement structural or vegetative practices, if applicable.
    • Planned practices address an identified natural resource concern.
    • Have irrigated 2 out of the last 5 years to install an irrigation-related practice.
    • See full details and definitions for Land Eligibility here.