Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
Also administered by the USDA, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to plan and implement conservation practices that improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related natural resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. EQIP may also help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations.
Who Can Apply
Owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on that land may apply to participate in EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands.
Eligible applicants must:
- Be agricultural producer (person, legal entity, or joint operation who has an interest in the agricultural operation, or who is engaged in agricultural production or forestry management).
- Control or own eligible land.
- Comply with adjusted gross income (AGI) for less than $900,000. Note: Federally recognized Native American Indian Tribes or Alaska Native corporations are exempt from the AGI payment limitations.
- Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements.
- Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations that addresses at least one natural resource concern.
Additional program requirements may apply.
How EQIP Works
- Financial Assistance Payments Are Made On Completed Practices
- Financial assistance payments through EQIP are made to eligible producers, to implement approved conservation practices on eligible land or to help producers develop Conservation Activity Plans (CAP) to address specific land use issues.
- Payments are made on completed practices or activities identified in an EQIP contract that meet NRCS standards. Payment rates are set each fiscal year and are attached to the EQIP contract when it is approved. Payment rates for each conservation practice can be found at each NRCS State Programs website.
- Historically Underserved Producers May Be Eligible For Higher Payment Rates
- Historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, Indian Tribes and veteran farmer or ranchers) who self-certify on Form NRCS-CPA-1200, Conservation Program Application are eligible for a higher practice payment rate to support implementation of contracted conservation practices and activities.
How To Apply For EQIP:
To apply for EQIP, visit your local NRCS field office, in your local USDA Service Center.
Download and complete the EQIP application form (Form NRCS-CPA-1200), to establish or update “farm records” with the Farm Service Agency, and submit all other required information to the local NRCS field office prior to application deadlines.
Step-by-step assistance can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.
Historically underserved producers may also be issued advance payments up to 50 percent of the established payment rate to purchasing materials or contracting services to begin installation of approved conservation practices.
Self-certified socially disadvantaged farmer/rancher, beginning farmers/ranchers, and veteran farmer/rancher producers may elect to be evaluated in special EQIP funding pools. More information can be found on the State Programs website or from your local NRCS office.
For additional information about historically underserved producers categories, see the Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers, Veteran Farmers page.