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North Jersey RC&D

EQIP-Assist

Supporting Farmers
Protecting Water Quality

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North Jersey RC&D has created opportunities for NJ livestock farmers in certain counties and watersheds to receive funding for livestock-related 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 on top of their NRCS EQIP payment.

 

Farms are capped at $20,000 in reimbursement through NJ RC&D's EQIP-Assist Program. Livestock farms in Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties are eligible. Farmers located in priority watershed areas will be given a higher priority for funding. See the map below.

EQIP-Assist Details

  • 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.

  • WHAT IS FUNDED: Opportunities for funding up to $20,000 are available towards farmers with an active NRCS contract. Examples of NRCS practices eligible for funding are:

    • Livestock Fence for rotational grazing or exclusion for waterways,

    • Stream Crossings,

    • Waste Storage Facility (e.g. manure storage pad),

    • Roof Runoff Structures,

    • Heavy Use Area Protection,

    • Troughs (not including pipelines),

    • Associated and additional practices that are tied to water quality may be eligible pending review from NJ RC&D.

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**Technical Service Providers: Farmers who require the following in order to work with NRCS: Nutrient Management Plan, Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, or engineering designs for HUAP, livestock stream crossing, waste storage facility (manure pad), and/or roof run-off structures (gutters and downspouts in the barnyard) – You are encouraged to reach out directly to Sam at sloscalzo@northjerseyrcd.org early on in the NRCS EQIP application process before you have an NRCS contract. We may be able to assist in providing funding towards a technical service provider 

  • HOW IT WORKS: If you have an NRCS EQIP contract with livestock-related practices that fall within a watershed focus area (see map below) or the larger Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union, or Warren counties, contact your NRCS planner and ask them to contact Sam at sloscalzo@northjerseyrcd.org. We will work with your NRCS planner to determine if your location and practices are eligible for NJ RC&D's EQIP-Assist. Farmers who need a technical service provider (see above) should reach out directly to Sam early on in the NRCS application process.

    • All practices will have a cost-share rate for reimbursement with a total cap of $20,000.

    • The cost-share rate is based on NRCS payment rates. NRCS payment rates are a fixed payment rate dependent on the practice in the NRCS EQIP contract. The fixed rate is intended to pay for a percentage of a project (e.g. 75% of a fence installation). Due to regional calculations and constraints, these fixed payment rates often do not reflect the actual percentage of the project cost.

      • If you are a non-HU (HU = NRCS Historically Underserved) producer, EQIP-Assist will help bring you up to a 90% cost-share rate for eligible practices.

      • If you are an HU producer, EQIP-Assist will help bring you up to a 95 to 98% cost-share rate.

  • EXAMPLE: You are installing a linear fence to keep livestock out of a stream and you are a non-HU producer.

  • If NRCS pays $0.75 per linear foot, intended to cover 75% of costs based on NRCS regional calculations, NJ RC&D's EQIP-Assist will provide additional funding at $0.15 per linear foot.

  •  With the NRCS EQIP payment + the NJ RC&D EQIP-Assist payment, the farmer will receive a payment rate that comes to $0.90 per linear foot (intended to cover 90% of costs based on NRCS regional calculations). The farmer pays for the additional costs

  • These are only example payment rates!

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The payment rates can be confusing. We understand and will work with you to help make it more clear!

  • WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Livestock farmers with an active NRCS contract or application with practices planned in Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Union, or Warren counties. Farmers that fall within a priority watershed area will receive a higher priority for funding. See the section below: Areas Eligible for Funding for more information.

  • 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. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funding is no longer available. Funding availability is dependent on when practices will be implemented and where we are in a grant cycle. Farmers who need a technical service provider (see 'What is Funded' above) should reach out directly to Sam early on in the NRCS EQIP application process.

    • If you are eligible for the program, we will contact you and send an agreement letter for signing.

  • HOW WILL PROJECTS BE RANKED? Applications are considered on a first come first serve basis. If needed, they will be ranked based on:

    • Location within a priority watershed

    • Impact to water quality;

    • How 'shovel-ready' the practice is;

    • Past funding received; 

    • Historically underserved status;

    • Highly erodible land (HEL) determination.

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  • HOW DOES PAYMENT WORK? Eligible projects will receive a reimbursement check after NRCS has verified that the practice meets NRCS standards and specifications. If circumstances require it, producers may be eligible for an advanced payment from North Jersey RC&D. Participants must supply appropriate receipts and work with North Jersey RC&D staff to create field maps and provide photos of practice implementation.                                                                                                                             

  • HOW IS THIS FUNDED?: The EQIP-Assist Program is made possible through grant funding to North Jersey RC&D. Funding is currently available through grants from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. North Jersey RC&D is always seeking more funding. More funding will help make these opportunities more available to all.

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

Areas Eligible for Funding

Farmers located in Hunterdon, Mercer, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, Warren, and Union counties are eligible for EQIP-assist. Farmers located in priority watershed areas will be given a higher priority for funding.

Pink/Light Red areas =Watershed focus areas (higher priority for funding)

Blue counties = RC&D Service Area of Hunterdon, Warren, Sussex, Morris, Somerset, and Union

Search for your address using the search bar to determine if your farm is within the focus areas.

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.

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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