Q: What are the payment rates/How much will I get paid?
A: First, producers will receive $5,000 for creating and revising their Comprehensive Soil Health Management Plan. Secondly, producers will be paid on a per acre basis for the new practices they implement up to $10,000 per year. All together, participants can earn $35,000 over the next three years.
Q: What does being a mentor in FARMS look like?
A: Long-Term Practitioners in FARMS will mentor the nearby Transitioning Producers. Mentors should visit with Transitioning Producers about their Comprehensive Soil Health Management Plans, implementation of practices, challenges, successes, etc. Mentors are not responsible for prescribing practices to other participants, but we recognize the value of peer-to-peer learning and the experiences, both good and bad, of what Long-Term Practitioners have tried. We will also encourage LTPs to visit other farms, and they will be compensated for their time and travel in doing so.
Q. What regions are included in this project?
A. Colorado, east of the Continental Divide. All of Nebraska and Kansas.
Q. Can I do this project if I’m already doing EQIP?
A. Yes, you can do this on top of any other government or private program, as long as you aren’t receiving double payments for anything. If the practices you want to implement with FARMS are new to your operation and you aren’t getting payments for those practices from any other entity, they are eligible for FARMS.
Q. Why are you asking if I’m EQIP eligible? Will I be in an EQIP program?
A. No, you won’t be enrolling in an EQIP program. The eligibility is just a requirement from NRCS in DC. After eligibility is confirmed, then we
can continue down our independent project path, separate from EQIP, and
not subject to their paperwork requirements.
Q. Do the practices have to be new? Can I get paid for practices I’ve already used?
A. The practices need to be new, or you need to be implementing them at a new level of intensity.
Q. I don’t have a living root 100% of the time – does that mean I don’t meet the 4 Soil Health Principles and am not eligible?
A. You are still eligible as long as you are addressing the principles and actively working towards them. We understand the realities of farm management.
Q. I’ve been managing soil health for decades / I’ve only just started working on soil health. Can I still get involved?
A. Yes! We are looking for producers across the spectrum of soil health experience. As long as you are working towards the four soil health principles, and have new practices you want to implement, you can be a part of this project. Less experienced producers will be paired up with a mentor to help them write their comprehensive soil health management plans.
Q: What is a Comprehensive Soil Health Management Plan?
A:It’s a big-picture plan of how you want to improve your soil health over the next 3 years. A Plan explains how you will address all four soil health principles (optionally five if you integrate livestock).
At the beginning of the project, you will create a Plan with the help of Technical Assistants and other producers, as needed. To do this, you will: 1) identify resource concerns, 2) identify feasible management options, 3) create implementation plans for short- and long-terms, and 4) adapt the plan as needed. Revisions can be made to the plans at any time, subject to the approval of TAs (e.g. if a crop is hailed out and the rotation needs to be adjusted). Plans can (and should!) also include innovative practices not typically covered in other programs, but our TA team has to approve those practices and they have to have known conservation benefits.
Q: Is soil health testing included in the grant or something I have to arrange separately?
A: Comprehensive soil health testing will be done by CSU or KSU on the fields enrolled in FARMS. It covers wind erosion potential, soil moisture sensors, bulk density, water-stable aggregates, infiltration rates, soil organic carbon, pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, microbial activity, and fungal to bacterial ratio. Contact us if you want more details about this.
Q: Does participating in FARMS exclude me from getting carbon credits?
A: No, producers are free to explore carbon credit markets in addition to the work they will be doing in FARMS. You’ll get support from the FARMS admin because we want to explore this as well.
Q: Is FARMS for cropland, rangeland, or both?
A: Only cropland is eligible for the FARMS Project.