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North Jersey RC&D

AgAssist:
EQIP-Assist

Supporting Farmers
Protecting Water Quality

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*This webpage and program are still under construction. Changes will be made*

Through grant funding, North Jersey RC&D has created opportunities for NJ farmers in certain counties and watersheds to receive funding for projects and practices that support clean water and healthy soils. Through the EQIP-Assist Program, NJ RC&D works with NRCS planners to provide farmers with an additional cost-share payment in combination with their NRCS EQIP payment. This is designed to help alleviate some costs that the NRCS EQIP payment does not cover. Farms are capped at $15,000 in reimbursement through NJ RC&D's EQIP-Assist Program. Reimbursement can be applied towards supplies and expenses required to implement a variety of livestock-related best management practices. Livestock farms in Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties are eligible. If you are interested, please speak with your NRCS planner and ask them to contact Sam at sloscalzo@northjerseyrcd.org.

 

  • WHO IS NORTH JERSEY RC&D:  We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to working through partnerships and with farmers towards agricultural sustainability and water resource protection.

  • HOW IT WORKS: If you have an NRCS-EQIP contract with practices that fall within Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union, or Warren counties, contact your NRCS planner. We will work with your NRCS planner to determine if you have practices eligible for EQIP-Assist. If you have practices that are eligible, North Jersey RC&D will provide a reimbursement for an additional cost-share in combination with your NRCS practice payment.

    • For example, if you are installing an 1,000 linear ft. fence to exclude livestock from a stream and NRCS pays $1.91/ft and the project costs $3/ft for fence, NJ RC&D will help alleviate costs so the farmer only pays 10% of the costs.

      • Project costs: $3/linear ft = $3 * 1,000 ft = $3,000

      • NRCS pays $1.91/linear ft = $1.91 * 1,000 ft = $1,910

      • $3,000 - $1,1910 = $1,090 remaining

      • $3,000 * 90% = $2,700; $2,700 - $1,910 = $790 <- What NJ RC&D pays to reach a 90% payment between EQIP-Assist + the NRCS practice payment

      • $3,000 * 10% = $300 <- What the producer pays with assistance from EQIP-Assist + NRCS practice payment

*The percent of reimbursement will be determined by practice and HU status and is contingent upon meeting NRCS standards and specifications. *
 

  • WHAT IS FUNDED: Opportunities for funding up to $15,000 are available towards farmers with an active NRCS contract. The following NRCS practices are eligible for funding: INSERT PRACTICES. See below for more information.     

  • WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Livestock farmers with an active NRCS contract or application with NRCS practices planned within Hunterdon, Morris, Sommerset, Sussex, Union, or Warren counties

  • HOW TO APPLY: This program does not have an application. If you are interested, please reach out to your NRCS planner. NJ RC&D will work with your NRCS planner to determine if your practices are eligible for funding. 

  • HOW WILL PROJECTS BE RANKED? Applications will receive ranking based on:

    • Impact to water quality;

    • Highly erodible land (HEL) determination;

    • Past funding received; and

    • Historically underserved status.                                                                                                                                       

  • HOW IS THIS FUNDED?: The AgAssist EQIP-Assist Program is made possible through grants awarded to North Jersey RC&D.  Current grant funding is made available from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

FAQ
  • How much does it cost?
    Farmers within the focus regions can loan equipment for up to two years at no cost. Farmers outside the focus regions can apply to rent one complete grazing system (energizers, reels, posts, fault finder, etc) from the program for $50.00 per year. We are asking all farmers to submit an annual $50.00 deposit for use of the equipment. Upon return of the equipment, your deposit will be refunded.
  • Can I exchange equipment that doesn't work for my operation?
    Yes! We encourage producers to try out a variety of equipment. If you decide something doesn't work for your farm, schedule an appointment without agricultural specialists to exchange the equipment for something different, as long as it is available.
  • What happens if the equipment breaks?
    We understand temporary fence equipment will receive some normal wear and tear. As long as most of the equipment is in good working condition, farmers will not be charged for one or two broken items.

Funding Opportunities

The North Jersey RC&D AgAssist: EQIP-Assist program has a wide variety of opportunities, each with its own separate funding conditions. 

Reimbursement rates are dependent on the practice and historically underserved (HU) status with NRCS.

Reimbursement is contingent on field verification, meeting agreed upon standards and specifications, and participants supplying appropriate receipts. Participants must be willing to work with North Jersey RC&D staff to create field maps, provide photos of practice implementation, and submit a brief summary of lessons learned from implementing the practice.

TAILOR OPPORTUNITIES LISTED BELOW TO MEET EQIP-ASSIST OPPORTUNITIES. CATEGORIES BELOW ARE PLACEHOLDERS

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Exclusion Fence

to exclude livestock from waterways.

Reimbursement Rate: Up to 90% of total costs (HU Rate: 95%)

Reimbursement Not to Exceed: $15,000

Permanent exclusion fence that is directly adjacent to a waterway and excludes livestock from the waterway. Intended for existing paddocks that do not already exclude waterways or whose fence is deteriorating.

 

Fences shall be installed 35’ or greater from the stream bank. Exceptions may apply for existing exclusion fence that needs replacing. 

Eligible expenses may include:

  • Contractor fees towards Installation

  • Fencing materials, Braces, Gates, and Latches.

  • Water troughs.

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Rotational Grazing Fence & Essential Supplies

to increase rest periods and improve pasture and soil health.

Reimbursement Rate: Up to 75% of total costs (HU Rate 90%)

Reimbursement Not to Exceed: $5,000


Participants must agree to rotate animals based on a grazing plan and have, or be working on, an Animal Waste Management plan with NJDA or Rutgers Cooperative Extension. This opportunity is intended for existing animals, not for expansion.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Temporary fence supporting improved rotational grazing. 

  • Energizers, reels, fence posts, clips, etc. that are necessary for temporary fence installations within a rotational grazing model.

  • Water troughs.

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Roof Run-off Structures
that divert water away from animal waste concentration areas to improve water quality.

Reimbursement Rate: Up to 75% of total costs (HU Rate 90%)

Reimbursement Not to Exceed: $15,000

 

Participants must have design and maintenance plan approved prior to installation. 

Eligible expenses include:

  • Gutters, downspouts, and outlets.

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Waterways & Diversions
for moving water away from ag. waste systems, farmsteads, and other improvements.

Reimbursement Rate: Up to 75% of total costs (HU Rate 90%)

Reimbursement Not to Exceed: $15,000

 

Participants must have design and maintenance plan approved prior to installation. 

Eligible expenses include:

  • Construction, vegetative establishments, and outlets.

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Vegetated Treatment Areas (VTAs)
to improve water quality by reducing loading of nutrients, pathogens, and other contaminants associated with manure and other wastes.

Reimbursement Rate: Up to 75% of total costs (HU Rate 90%) 

Reimbursement Not to Exceed: $15,000

 

Participants must have design and maintenance plan approved prior to installation. 

Eligible expenses include:

  • Construction, vegetative establishments, and outlets.

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Composting System or Small Manure Storage
to store manure or organic material, reduce water pollution potential, and allow the material to decompose into a final product to be spread at optimal times as a soil amendment.

Reimbursement Rate: Up to 75% of total costs (HU Rate 90%)

Reimbursement Not to Exceed: $15,000


Participants must have design and maintenance plan approved prior to installation. 

Eligible expenses include:

  • Materials, construction and site preparation

  • Push walls, bins

  • Supplies for an Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting system

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Cover Crop Seed Expenses (up to 100 acres)

Reimbursement Rate: Based on the number of acres planted and type of cover crop (ie multi-species, single species). 

Reimbursement Not to Exceed : 100 acres for cover cropping  

Limited to participants within the Focus Area Watersheds.

Participants must plant cover crop at the specified time as per agreement stipulations, have proper germination, and allow cover crop to grow for the specified amount of time as determined in the agreement. Participants also must not be currently be enrolled in any federal programs towards cover crop on the same ground. 

Eligible expenses  for one-year only include:

  1. Single species cover crops; for producers wishing to plant a cereal rye fall cover crop, seed must be planted by November 15th. Consult North Jersey RC&D for other species’ planting dates.

    • $35/acre (HU $40/ac)

  2. Multi-species cover crop; seeding mix must be planted by September 15th for a fall cover crop and must include a minimum of three species from at least two plant groups (ie, two small grains and a legume).

    • $45/acre (HU $50/ac)

  3. Organic  Cover Crop Seed; for producers wishing to plant a cereal rye fall cover crop, seed must be planted by November 15th. Consult North Jersey RC&D for other species’ planting dates.  

    • $50/acre (HU $55/ac)

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Soil Tests for Biological Assessments

Reimbursement Rate: Up to 75% of total costs (HU Rate 90%)

Reimbursement Not to Exceed: $3,000 for the project

Limited to participants within the Focus Area Watersheds.

Participants must submit receipts and soil results.  Participants are responsible for collecting and mailing their samples. 

Eligible expenses include:

  • Soil tests that emphasize biological assessments and properties. Look for labs that run Haney Tests, Solvita, or CASH.

  • Soil sample shipping costs.

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Windbreak/Riparian Buffer Establishment & Renovations

Reimbursement Rate: Up to 75% of total costs (HU Rate 90%)

Reimbursement Not to Exceed: $5,000

Limited to participants within the Focus Area Watersheds.

Participants must have planting and maintenance plan approved prior to installation. The participant is responsible for planting and maintenance of the windbreak/riparian buffer.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Vegetation and tree protection for riparian buffers or windbreaks.

  • Does NOT include assistance for invasive species removal or the removal of dead trees.

*Please note that the AgAssist Cost-Share, & AgAssist Commitment programs are completely separate from this AgAssist: EQIP-Assist funding opportunity

Oppertunitites

Our Partners

AgAssist is made possible through grant funding from New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

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