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Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Soil Health Equipment Program

The Soil Health Equipment Program (SHEP) helps offset the cost of purchasing certain equipment used to address agricultural resource concerns, such as soil health or water quality. This program is available to landowners or producers who own or operate agricultural land in Dane County and meet the eligibility requirements below.

Equipment can be purchased new, used (if in good working condition), or custom-built with prior approval from county staff. Eligible equipment may include, but is not limited to:

  • Low disturbance manure injection toolbars
  • Compost turners and spreaders
  • No-till drills
  • Crimpers
  • Precision agriculture
  • Traveling shade structures for grazing livestock

SHEP allows applicants to request financial assistance for cost sharing up to 70% of the cost of equipment, not to exceed $30,000. No applicant, or farm operation they are associated with, can receive more than $30,000 in funding through this program. 2024 funding will be determined by the end of January 2024. Landowners and operators participating in this program will work with county staff to determine what equipment works best for their operation. 

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for this program, the landowner or producer must meet the following requirements:

  • Own or operate agricultural land in Dane County (at least 50% of the acres need to be located in Dane County)
  • Implement at least one agricultural management practice on a minimum of 25% of the cropland where the proposed equipment will be used. Practices include, but are not limited to:
    • Residue management
    • Cover crops
    • Interseeding and relay cropping
    • No-till
    • Managed grazing
  • Have a nutrient management plan for all acres the applicant owns and/or operates. An updated plan must be submitted to staff by June 1st annually.
  • Remain in compliance with Chapter 49, Dane County Code of Ordinances for agricultural performance standards and manure management prohibitions.
  • Assume responsibility for all equipment maintenance, repairs, and insurance requirements. Equipment can be rented to others at the landowner/producer’s discretion.

If Dane County determines that a violation of the these terms has occurred at any time during the term of cost share contract, the recipient will be required to immediately refund all funds received under the contract.

No applicant, or farm operation they are associated with, can receive more than $30,000 in cost share funding through this program. 

How to Apply

Applications will be taken throughout the year. Program is contingent on available funds and county budgets. During the term of the cost-share contract, staff may conduct on-site verification of use.

Application Steps:

  1. Contact the appropriate staff member (PDF) to determine if this program is a good fit for your operation and goals.
  2. If needed, work with an agronomist or Dane County staff to develop and/or update a nutrient management plan using SNAP Plus that incorporates the proposed companion practice(s) and the proposed equipment. The plan should highlight agricultural resource benefits such as reductions in soil erosion, phosphorus index, etc.
  3. Complete the Soil Health Equipment Program Application (PDF) and submit it along with an electronic copy of the nutrient management plan, SNAP Plus database, and any additional supporting materials for review. Dane County staff will provide these applications materials.
  4. Dane County staff will review applications and provide notification of award. If selected, applicants sign a cost-share contract prior to purchasing the equipment. Equipment cannot be purchased until a contract has been signed and approved.

Next Steps:

  1. Cost-share recipients must submit paid invoices for equipment which will be reviewed by staff before reimbursements are issued.

Contact

Land Conservation Division
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department
(608) 224-3730
landcon@countyofdane.com

Land Conservation Division staff contacts (PDF)