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Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Soil Health Initiative

Grants to New Jersey Agricultural Producers to Implement
Cropping Systems that Promote Conservation

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US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) - New Jersey

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Grants to New Jersey individuals, Tribes, and legal entities involved with agricultural production to implement cover crops that utilize multiple species. Funding will be used for crop implementation, soil health assessment, and supporting conservation practices.

The goal of the soil health initiative in New Jersey is to achieve healthy functioning soil through the implementation of Conservation Cropping Systems that address the four soil health planning principles:

1. Minimize disturbance
2. Increase diversity
3. Keep a living root growing
4. Keep the soil covered year round

The Core Practice for New Jersey Soil Health Initiative is multi-species crop mix including 3 or more species maintained over a minimum of 90 days. The multi-species mix must be applied on the same acreage for three consecutive years. Applicants that have received payment for cover crop, but have not met the guidelines for a diverse cover crop, may still be eligible for this initiative to install the higher level of treatment.

For Spring and Summer planted cover crop, termination should not occur prior to:

- June 15th in planting zones 7a and 7b
- June 30th in planting zones 6a and 6b

For Winter cover crop, the most limiting planting date of the mix must be met or another species shall be added to the mix to ensure that a minimum of three species in the mix meet the planting date.

Ongoing Soil Health Assessment

The NRCS-NJ Soils Team visit the farm to establish a baseline condition for fields enrolled in the EQIP Soil Health Initiative and then conduct a soil health assessment periodically over the next three years. These analyses will help monitor changes in soil health where cover crops and companion practices have been implemented.

Soil analyses will include, but are not limited to:

- Soil profile description
- Soil organic matter content
- Bulk density measurement
- Soil infiltration utilizing the Cornell rainfall simulator
- Soil chemical analysis for macronutrients.

Supporting Practices available to producers through the Initiative to complement the multi-species cover crop mix and help ensure that the resource concerns are addressed while implementing and managing the cover crop include:

- Conservation Crop Rotation
- Cover Crop
- Integrated Pest Management
- Nutrient Management
- Residue and Tillage Management, Reduced till
- Residue and Tillage Management, No Till
- Mulching (Leaf Mulching Only)

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 186403

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants include individuals, legal entities, Indian Tribes, or joint operations engaged in agricultural production. Eligible producers interested in entering into a financial assistance agreement with NRCS for EQIP assistance may file an application at any time. Applicants must be:

- An agricultural producer and have control of eligible land for the term of the proposed contract period; eligible land includes cropland.
- In compliance with the provisions for protecting the interests of tenants and sharecroppers, including the provisions for sharing EQIP payments on a fair and equitable basis.
- In compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation compliance provisions.
- Within appropriate payment limitation requirements.
- In compliance with adjusted gross income requirement.

Pre-Application Information:

EQIP applications can be submitted anytime during the year. EQIP has a continuous sign-up with application cut-off dates to rank and prioritize any new or unfunded applications. A signed application can be filed with the local NRCS office at any time.

A signed application indicates an interest in developing a conservation plan, the first step in the application process.

Application Cut-off Period: August 30, 2019

Eligibility and application process:

Current funding opportunities and deadlines:

Get Started with NRCS:

Application documents:

General EQIP program information:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit applications to your local NRCS office:

For more information, contact:
Richard K. Shaw (732) 537-6061
or Edwin Muñiz (732) 537-6062

State Office
Carrie Lindig, State Conservationist
220 Davidson Avenue 4th Floor
Somerset NJ 08873

Phone: 732-537-6041

For a list of specific employees, see:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New Jersey