Massachusetts Agricultural Commissions

Laws & Regulations: Federal

Not Proofread Yet

Please contact your local NRCS Field Office for more information on any of the programs listed below.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was reauthorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Farm Bill) to provide a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land.

EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term that ends one year after the implementation of the last scheduled practices and a maximum term of ten years. These contracts provide incentive payments and cost-shares to implement conservation practices. Persons who are engaged in livestock or agricultural production on eligible land may participate in the EQIP program. EQIP activities are carried out according to an environmental quality incentives program plan of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or practices to address the resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions. The local conservation district approves the plan.

EQIP may cost-share up to 75 percent of the costs of certain conservation practices. Incentive payments may be provided for up to three years to encourage producers to carry out management practices they may not otherwise use without the incentive. However, limited resource producers and beginning farmers and ranchers may be eligible for cost-shares up to 90 percent. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified third-party provider for technical assistance. An individual or entity may not receive, directly or indirectly, cost-share or incentive payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $450,000 for all EQIP contracts entered during the term of the Farm Bill.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)
The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land. Through WHIP USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service provides both technical assistance and up to 75 percent cost-share assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. WHIP agreements between NRCS and the participant generally last from 5 to 10 years from the date the agreement is signed.

WHIP has proven to be a highly effective and widely accepted program across the country. By targeting wildlife habitat projects on all lands and aquatic areas, WHIP provides assistance to conservation minded landowners.
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 reauthorized WHIP as a voluntary approach to improving wildlife habitat in our Nation. Program administration of WHIP is provided under the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Conservation Security Program (CSP)
CSP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to promote the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes on Tribal and private working lands. Working lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pasture, and range land, as well as forested land that is an incidental part of an agriculture operation. The program is available in all 50 States, the Caribbean Area and the Pacific Basin area. The program provides equitable access to benefits to all producers, regardless of size of operation, crops produced, or geographic location.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. The program provides assistance to farmers and ranchers in complying with Federal, State, and tribal environmental laws, and encourages environmental enhancement. The program is funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). CRP is administered by the Farm Service Agency, with NRCS providing technical land eligibility determinations, conservation planning and practice implementation.

The Conservation Reserve Program reduces soil erosion, protects the Nation's ability to produce food and fiber, reduces sedimentation in streams and lakes, improves water quality, establishes wildlife habitat, and enhances forest and wetland resources. It encourages farmers to convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover, such as tame or native grasses, wildlife plantings, trees, filterstrips, or riparian buffers. Farmers receive an annual rental payment for the term of the multi-year contract. Cost sharing is provided to establish the vegetative cover practices.

Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)
The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property. Section 2401 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-171) amended the Food Security Act of 1985 to authorize this program. The Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and Forest Service are coordinating implementation of GRP, which helps landowners restore and protect grassland, rangeland, pastureland, shrubland and certain other lands and provides assistance for rehabilitating grasslands. The program will conserve vulnerable grasslands from conversion to cropland or other uses and conserve valuable grasslands by helping maintain viable ranching operations.

Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP)
The Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) is a voluntary program established for the
purpose of restoring and enhancing forest ecosystems to: 1) promote the recovery of
threatened and endangered species, 2) improve biodiversity; and 3) enhance carbon

The HFRP was signed into law as part of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003.
The program is authorized to be carried out from 2004 through 2008.

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property.  The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial support to help landowners with their wetland restoration efforts.  The NRCS goal is to achieve the greatest wetland functions and values, along with optimum wildlife habitat, on every acre enrolled in the program.  This program offers landowners an opportunity to establish long-term conservation and wildlife practices and protection.

Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP)
The FPPA is intended to minimize the impact Federal programs have on the unnecessary and irreversible conversion of farmland to nonagricultural uses. It assures that–to the extent possible–Federal programs are administered to be compatible with state, local units of government, and private programs and policies to protect farmland.

Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG)
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking proposals for projects to improve energy efficiency on Massachusetts Farms.  The projects will be funded through the agency’s Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program.  This year, the grant specifically targets projects that include on-farm energy efficiency audits, audit processes and renewable energy alternatives.  For complete details, eligibility criteria and application instructions please visit

Please contact your local Rural Development Office for more information on any of the programs listed below.

Section 9006: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (the Farm Bill) established the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program under Title IX, Section 9006. This program currently funds grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business for assistance with purchasing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements.

Guaranteed Loan Program
Notice for Requests for Proposals for Guaranteed Loans under the Section 538; Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program (GRRHP) for Fiscal Year 2007.

Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG)
The much anticipated Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) is now available online at VAPG NOSA FED REG NOTICE.  Due to delays in the FY 07 budget process, the NOSA has been released much later than usual, and the window for application turnaround is significantly shorter this year; with a deadline of May 16, 2007.  Applicants will only have 30 days to write and submit their proposal.  Rural Business Cooperative Service has important guidelines on eligibility criteria and the application process online at

Please contact your local Cooperative Extension Office for more information on any of the programs listed below.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE)
SARE works to increase knowledge about - and help farmers and ranchers adopt - practices that are profitable, environmentally sound, and good to communities. Several types of competitive grants are awarded by four regional administrative councils. Research and education grants, generally ranging from $60,000 to $150,000, fund projects that usually involve scientists, producers and others in an interdisciplinary approach. Professional development grants, generally ranging from $20,000 to $90,000, offer educational opportunities for extension, NRCS, and other agricultural professionals. Producer grants, typically between $1,000 and $15,000, go to farmers and ranchers who test innovative ideas and share the results with their neighbors. Projects address crop and livestock production and marketing, stewardship of soil and other natural resources, economics and quality of life.

Please contact your local Farm Service Agency Office for more information on any of the programs listed below.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced new results of the recent opportunity given to Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants to re-enroll or extend their contracts, which are set to expire between 2007 and 2010.

Terms of Use  |  Site Map Last update 20120220