Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial and technical assistance to livestock producers for animal mortality disposal, resulting from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers facing livestock depopulation are encouraged to file the EQIP application (Form CCC-1200) with their local NRCS field office. You must work through your NRCS office for this process.
YOU MUST FILE AN APPLICATION AND RECEIVE A WAIVER BEFORE YOU BEGIN DEPOPULATION!
The Emergency Animal Mortality Management practice includes four options that NRCS is offering for the proper disposal of animal carcasses:
Conversion Factor: 1,000 lbs. = Animal Unit (AU)
One Animal Unit (AU) = 80 Weaning Pigs or 3.5 Market Hogs or 2 Sows or 1 Cow
*Historically Underserved (HU) producers, including socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes and beginning farmers/veterans, are eligible for an increased payment rate.
To receive assistance, both an application and approved early start waiver must be filed with the local NRCS field office prior to disposal of animal carcasses.
- Producers must have farm records established with the Farm Service Agency (FSA), meet all eligibility requirements, and have application filed at the local NRCS.
- Payment cap is $25,000 per practice.
- Producer must follow an NRCS-approved design for the site.
Frequently Asked Questions for EQIP funding for Disposal:
Q: Will NRCS allow the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) “emergency rules” standards for disposal?
In general, NRCS standards are in alignment with IDOA rules and have some additional flexibility for emergency rules. NRCS strives for maximum alignment and flexibility but cannot guarantee following completely without knowing what the emergency rules will be.
Q: What is the Animal Unit to market animal ratio?
In general, one 1,000-pound animal unit will equate to 3.5 market size pigs. If actual weights are available, those can be converted to animal units. If the weights are not known, then the producer can go off the type of animals and use conversion factors.
Q: Will pregnancy terminations be counted as a pig or added pounds?
For EQIP funding, pregnancy terminations will be consider added pounds and not increase the pig count.
Q: Will EQIP funds be available if the disposal is using already existing composting methods?
If the animals are going into existing, onsite composters there would not be a resource concern identified to justify an EQIP contract. If another method of disposal was being used onsite because the existing composter cannot handle the animals or if the animals were being taken offsite, then there could be an EQIP contract.
Q: In a contract grower situation, who should apply for EQIP funds, contract growers or owners? How does this effect the $25,000 cap?
Anyone can apply for EQIP, but the applicant must go through an eligibility determination. That determination includes things like Adjusted Gross Income, FSA farm records, conservation compliance, land control, etc. The $25,000 cap is by practice. In general, the payment cap would manifest itself by contract. However, there are some circumstances where multiple practices could be needed on the same site. Those specifics would be determined during the contract planning phase and the payment amount would be clearly identified before a contract is signed. Either contractors or owners could have EQIP contracts if they meet eligibility requirements.
Q: Can carbon source which contains manure, i.e. bed pack, poultry litter, be used as a carbon source for composting
Bed pack manure and poultry litter have significantly lower amounts of carbon per unit volume than other carbon sources, but they are certainly possibilities for part (but not all) of the carbon source for the composting recipe. If these materials are used, high carbon-to-nitrogen ratio materials will also be needed.
Q: Are increases in animals (sows and market animals) which are culled and euthanized due to COVID eligible for EQIP funds?
Normal mortalities will not be excluded, if the carcasses all needed to be disposed of at the same time and if the routine mortality management option does not exist. Recordkeeping showing the increase will be needed.
Q: Can burial of carcasses happen on tiled ground?
Any existing tile on the burial area would need to be disabled or rerouted.
Q: Is there a minimal distance burial needs to be from tile lines?
This is a site-specific consideration. The tile needs to be far enough away that it is not directly affecting the drainage of the burial site.
Q: If a person could find an abandoned feedlot site, etc. and deal with the legality of not owning it, would that be a suitable site for composting?
This is a site-specific issue with several potential environmental and programmatic variables. But in general, if the site is environmentally suitable and the disposal methods meets State criteria, it could be considered for EQIP like a landfill or renderer disposal.