Working lands programs food conservation and energy act of 2008
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Working Lands Programs Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Jim Pease Dept of Agricultural & Applied Economics Virginia Tech Jim.Pease@vt.edu 540/231-4178. From Aillery, M. “Contrasting Working-land and Land Retirement Programs, Economic Brief No. 4, ERS/USDA, March 2006.

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Working Lands Programs Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008

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Working Lands ProgramsFood, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008

Jim Pease

Dept of Agricultural & Applied Economics

Virginia Tech

Jim.Pease@vt.edu

540/231-4178


From Aillery, M. “Contrasting Working-land and Land Retirement Programs, Economic Brief No. 4, ERS/USDA, March 2006


Principal “Working Lands” Programs

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Funding (“to the maximum extent practicable”) FY2008-2012 is $7.325 billion

  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Funding (“to the maximum extent practicable”) for 12.769 million acres enrollment per year over FY2009-2017 at average contract payment of $18/acre


Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)


Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

  • Voluntary program providing financial and technical assistance to protect water, air and soil quality and wildlife habitat by implementation and management of conservation practices on livestock and cropping operations

  • Conservation practices include:

    • Structural

    • Land management

    • Vegetative

    • Forest management

    • Conservation plan development

  • Emphasis on assisting livestock operations to meet regulatory requirements, available nationally, no previous conservation practice required


EQIP Principal Changes

  • Increased funding FY2008-2012 to $7.325 billion

  • Allows practices related to:

    • livestock air quality concerns

    • organic transition or production

    • water conservation/irrigation efficiency practices

    • comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan

  • Agricultural Water Enhancement Program to fund water quality and water conservation activities

  • Payment limit reduced to $300,000

  • Modifies evaluation process of contract proposals


EQIP Land Eligibility

  • Land which agricultural commodities, livestock, or forest-related products are grown, including cropland, grassland, rangeland, and pasture land

  • Other private agricultural land, such as cropped woodland, marshes, or agricultural land used for livestock production

  • Nonindustrial private forest land


Ranking of EQIP Applications Based on:

  • Cost-effective

  • Comprehensive and effective

  • Fulfill EQIP purpose

  • Improve conservation practices/ systems(similar crop/livestock operations grouped for evaluation)


EQIP Contracts

  • Term 1-10 years

  • Payments cover costs of structures/practices (max 75%) and income foregone (max 100%)

    • For limited resource, beginning, or socially disadvantaged producers, payments for costs incurred are lesser of 25% over the regular rate, or 90%

  • Payment limit $300,000/person over 6 years


Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)


Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

  • Voluntary program providing payments for maintenance/adoption of conservation practices that

    • Address a state-defined resource concern

    • Are operated beyond a threshold resource/environmental management level

  • Replaces/revamps the 2002 Conservation Security Program beginning FY2009

    • Tiered payment system eliminated

    • Watershed-based eligibility eliminated


CSP Land Eligibility

  • Private agricultural land, including cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pasture, rangeland, and agro-forestry land

  • Forested land incidental to agricultural operation

  • Other private agricultural land, such as cropped woodland, marshes, or agricultural land used for livestock production

  • Tribal agricultural land

  • Nonindustrial private forest land


CSP Priority Resource Concern

  • 3-5 resource concerns identified by NRCS in consultation with a state Technical Committee as priority for a watershed or other area within the state


CSP Funding Allocation

  • Allocation by state based on:

    • proportion of national eligible acres

    • conservation needs in each state

    • expected effectiveness of program implementation

    • other regional equity considerations.

  • Requirement of 5% funding for beginning producers and 5% for socially disadvantaged producers


Conservation Stewardship Plan

  • Must have met threshold of at least 1 resource concern

  • Must propose to meet/exceed stewardship threshold of at least 1 priority resource concern by installing/adopting conservation activities and improving/maintaining /managing conservation activities


Ranking of CSP Applications Based on:

  • Level of conservation treatment

  • Effectiveness of proposed conservation treatment on priority resource concerns

  • Number of priority resource concerns proposed

  • Other resource concerns addressed

  • Benefit/cost relative to other proposals


CSP Contracts

  • Continuous enrollment

  • 5-year term, renewable for another 5

  • Annual payments based on costs incurred, income forgone, and environmental benefits

  • Specialty crop and organic producers may participate

  • CSP payments now allowed for:

    • organic certification

    • on-farm conservation research/demonstration or pilot testing

  • Supplemental CSP payments for resource-conserving crop rotations

  • Payment limitation $200,000 total over 5 years


Critical Elements of Working Lands Programs

  • Annual Congressional appropriations?

  • Program access, benefit/cost affected by state allocation

  • EQIP:Program requests exceed funding 4:1

  • CSP:USDA “reliable conservation measurement tools”?

  • Technical assistance availability?

  • “Stickiness” of conservation practices after contract expires?

  • Enrollment with current high commodity prices?


Final Notes

  • Environmental Services Markets: Mandate for USDA to develop technical guidelines for measuring and reporting environmental services on farm, ranch, and forest lands; and guidelines for registry of benefits; priority for emerging carbon markets

  • Chesapeake Bay Program watershed funding $188m FY2009-2012


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