Original site in English

Ask a Specialist Answer


What are some pointers in entering the following government programs: FSA, NRCS, CRP, EQIP


Congratulations on knowing all of the acronyms! These government programs can provide funds to help you manage your land with conservation in mind. The payments may not be sufficient to cover all of the costs for the items you are agreeing to implement, but they should be between 60-95 percent of the dollars you will spend.

You will get fairly detailed contracts to sign with these two agencies. It is very important you read these closely and discuss any questions you may have with the FSA and NRCS personnel. You should make sure that you know exactly what you are expected to do. For instance, the type of seeds you are expected to plant for your CRP, and depending on your EQIP practice, there may be shrubs, trees or seeds you may need to plant. If you wish to keep this land as certified organic, make sure you do not sign a contract that mandates use of herbicide or synthetic fertilizers either before or after your planting. These contracts can be modified to your needs and desires, and if you wish to plant something different than what is usually required, you should ask for a variance before the contract is written.

There will be requirements, sometimes yearly, for reporting what you have done and where. For instance, if you are doing a cover crop, you might need to document the date, rate and type of seed planted. The method and date of termination might also be required as well as photographs of the cover crop(s) growing. Make sure you know what is expected of you. If they have a specific form they want you to use, obtain that when you sign the contract. This way, you are prepared to provide them the information they will request before they direct deposit your payment.

If you are required to do a “prescribed burn,” make sure you are working with your local fire department or a company that is approved for doing these type of burns. You will need to provide a very detailed plan before you do the burn, which explains how you would prevent a wide variety of issues that could result in a runaway fire. Obtain this information when you sign your contract, since it can take a month or more to get everything organized. If you know what you need to do, you can get ready with plenty of time to accomplish the activity.

Lastly, if there are issues at the end of the contract year concerning the completion of your activities, make sure what you are being asked to do is actually written in your contract. The agencies cannot change what you are required to do in the middle of a contract. Items you need to review are the contract and any descriptions of practices and job sheets that provide details of your activities. These practices and job sheets are a wealth of knowledge and can be useful in obtaining the “best bang for your buck.”

Posted: Nov 2014
Answer By: Harriet Behar