If you are looking to purchase Florida farms for sale or already own property, it is important to be aware of government incentive programs for land owners. One that is especially advantageous is the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which is a voluntary program for farmers and ranchers, developed as part of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996.
The Purpose of EQIP
The primary purpose of EQIP is to provide conservation and environmental management assistance to farmers and ranchers with limited resources by providing financial and technical support. In addition to helping plan and implement sustainable practices, EQIP also helps ensure agricultural producers are meeting federal, state, and local environmental regulations.
How EQIP Works
Owners of private cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands used for the production of livestock, agricultural, or forest production whose operations rely on soil, water, plant, animal, air, and other related natural resources are eligible to apply for EQIP. Applicants are ranked based on the their environmental need and awards are given out as contracts in terms up to 10 years in length. If approved for the incentive program, The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will first identify operational issues that can be improved to protect the environment. Based on these observations, the NRCS will help producers implement conservation practices to protect natural resources. Payments are then disbursed to the owners after the implementation.
How to Apply
To apply for EQIP, first visit with your local NRCS office to discuss conservation strategies for your land. Then, work with the NRCS to complete the EQIP application and determine eligibility. There are a certain amount of funds allocated to each state. The NRCS will take all applications for Florida and rank applicants based on resource concerns. If approved for the EQIP program, you will be assigned a representative that will work with you to develop a conservation plan and develop steps to implement it.
The current deadline for financial assistance in the 2015 fiscal year is November 21, 2014.
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