1466.24 EQIP payment restrictions and exceptions.§ 1466.24 EQIP payment restrictions and exceptions.
(a) EQIP general aggregate payment limitation. (1) The total amount of financial assistance payments paid to a person or legal entity under this part, during the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, may not exceed an aggregate of $450,000, directly or indirectly.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in § 1466.6, the limitation in paragraph (a)(1) of this section cannot be waived.
(b) Organic production aggregate payment limitation. Payments for conservation practices related to organic production to a person or legal entity, directly or indirectly, during the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, may not exceed an aggregate of $140,000.
(c) Payment eligibility criteria. To determine eligibility for payments, NRCS will use the criteria in paragraphs (c)(1) through (9) of this section:
(1) The provisions in 7 CFR part 1400, Payment Limitation and Payment Eligibility;
(2) Except as otherwise set forth in this part, States, political subdivisions, and entities thereof are not considered to be producers eligible for payment;
(3) In accordance with 7 CFR part 1400, an applicant applying as a joint operation or legal entity must provide a list of all members of the legal entity and joint operation and associated embedded entities, along with the members' tax identification numbers and percentage interest in the joint operation or legal entity, which all legal entities or persons applying, either alone or as part of a joint operation, must provide to be eligible to receive an EQIP payment;
(4) Contracts with Indian Tribes are not subject to payment or contract limitations, provided that -
(i) Indian Tribes certify in writing that no one individual, directly or indirectly, will receive more than the payment limitation,
(ii) Certification provided at the time of enrollment covers the entire contract period, and
(iii) The Tribal entity provides, upon request from NRCS, a listing of individuals and payment made, by Social Security number or other unique identification number, during the previous year for calculation of overall payment limitations, with the conditions in paragraphs (c)(4)(iii)(A) through (C) of this section:
(A) Payment limitations apply to individual Tribal member(s) when applying and subsequently being granted a contract as an individual(s);
(B) American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders may use another unique identification number for each individual eligible for payment; and
(C) Any individual Tribal member who is identified utilizing a unique identification number as an alternative to a tax identification number will utilize only that identifier for all contracts to which the individual Tribal member receives a payment directly or indirectly;
(5) Any cooperative association of producers that markets commodities for producers is not eligible for payment;
(6) NRCS will confirm eligibility for payments in accordance with 7 CFR part 1400, subpart F, Average Adjusted Gross Income Limitation, prior to contract approval;
(7) To be eligible for payments for conservation practices related to organic production or the transition to organic production:
(i) Participants who are USDA certified organic producers will implement conservation practices that are consistent with an approved organic system plan (OSP), and
(ii) Participants who are transitioning to organic production (including participants who are exempt from certification as defined by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990) will develop an OSP and implement conservation practices that are consistent with OSP requirements and purposes of the program;
(8) A participant is not eligible for payments for conservation practices on eligible land if the participant receives payments or other benefits for the same practice to address the same resource concern on the same land under any other conservation program administered by USDA; and
(9) Before NRCS approves and issues any EQIP payment, the participant must certify that the conservation practice has been completed in accordance with contract requirements, and NRCS or an approved TSP must certify that the practice has been carried out in accordance with the applicable NRCS FOTG technical standards.
(d) Advance payments. (1) Notwithstanding paragraph (c) of this section, with respect to participants who are historically underserved producers, NRCS may issue advance payments of at least 50 percent and not to exceed 100 percent of the anticipated amount of the costs incurred for the purpose of purchasing materials or services to implement a conservation practice.
(2) Eligibility for advance payment is contingent upon the requirement that the participant obtain an NRCS-approved practice design prior to approval of the advance payment.
(3) The participant must expend advanced funds for practice implementation within 90 days from receipt of funds or return the funds to NRCS within a reasonable time as determined by NRCS.