Nebraska NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Activity Plan (CAP)

Nebraska NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Activity Plan (CAP)

For  fiscal year 2019, Conservation Activity Plans (CAPs) have continuous signups with automatic threshold score preapprovals until July 19, 2019, if threshold score is met or exceeded. Eligible producers may apply at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office. Applications are taken on a continuous basis with cut-off dates established to rank eligible applications.

What is a CAP?

NRCS logo

A Conservation Activity Plan or CAP is a plan developed for producers to identify conservation practices to address a specific natural resource need, such as: nutrient management, comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) development for animal feeding operations (AFOs), transition to organic farming, energy management (farm energy audits), etc. Simply put, a CAP is a plan to address one resource concern.

CAPs are a prelude plan for proposed structural practices.  In the first year, the producer will sign up for a CAP contract; once the plan is completed, he (she) will sign up for financial and technical assistance for the proposed structural practices the following year.

Example CAP

  • A producer has a water quality resource concern due to his animal feeding operation, i.e. runoff.  He may need a manure storage structure but is not sure what would work best for his operation –type, size, management, etc. 
  • He can sign up for a CAP for the development of a comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP). The producer contracts with a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) to develop the CAP-CNMP (NRCS does not develop CAPs).
  • The CNMP will provide the producer with planned practices and quantities estimates in addition to manure nutrient management.  
  • Once his plan is developed, he can decide on what conservation practices would best fit his operation and apply for financial and technical assistance from NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the proposed structural practices. 
  • The CAP CNMP serves a second purpose: In the case of planned manure storage structures, a CNMP is required for the EQIP application to be deemed high priority for ranking.  

All EQIP applications, including CAPs are subject to ranking, but CAPs, are given the highest priority.  During periodic ranking cut-off dates, EQIP CAP applications will be awarded contracts.  This may change depending on the quantity of EQIP applications for CAPs are received.

Once an EQIP contract for the CAP is issued, producers have one year to submit the completed CAP.  EQIP payments are made directly to program participants for development of a CAP by a Technical Service Provider (TSP) certified for that CAP/Category.  The participant is responsible for payment to the TSP.

The next EQIP application cut-off date (FY2020) will sometime in the fall of 2019 (no date has formally be announced).  It makes sense to develop a CNMP now through the CAP program and then apply for funding through EQIP for manure storage structure practices for fiscal year 2020.

What CAPs are available in Nebraska?

For information on CAP criteria, payment rates and templates visit the Nebraska NRCS eFOTG sites, Section III – Conservation Activity Plan FY2019.  In Nebraska, the following CAPs are offered:

  • CAP102 – Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan,
  • CAP104 – Nutrient Management Plan,
  • CAP106 – Forest Management Plan,
  • CAP108 – Feed Management Plan,
  • CAP110 -  Grazing Management Plan,
  • CAP112 – Prescribed Burn Plan,
  • CAP114 – Integrated Pest Management Plan,
  • CAP118 – Irrigation Water Management Plan,
  • CAP128 – Agriculture Energy Management Plan,
  • CAP130 - Drainage Water Management Plan,
  • CAP138 – Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition (CPSOTP),
  • CAP142 - Fish & Wildlife Habitat Management Plan,
  • CAP146 - Pollinator Habitat Enhancement Plan,
  • CAP152 - IPM Herbicide Resistance Weed Management Plan.

Where can I get more information?

Contact Renee Hancock, 402-437-4064 or if you have any questions about applying for CAPs.

This article was reviewed by Leslie Johnson

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