The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat.
What's New in EQIP?
The former Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program was folded into EQIP
Advance payment opportunities now exist for veteran agricultural producers.
Advance payments for socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes and veterans were raised from 30 percent to 50 percent.
Payment limitations are set at $450,000 with no ability to waive.
Eligible program participants receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices, or activities like conservation planning, that address natural resource concerns on their land. Payments are made to participants after conservation practices and activities identified in an EQIP plan of operations are implemented. Contracts can last up to ten years in duration.
Agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland and Tribes are eligible to apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands.
Socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes and veterans are eligible for an increased payment rate and may receive advance payment of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract.
Control or own eligible land
Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions
Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements.
Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations
Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.
How to Apply
Visit your local USDA Service Center to apply or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.
NRCS will help eligible producers develop an EQIP plan of operations, which will become the basis of the EQIP contract.
EQIP applications will be ranked based on a number of factors, including the environmental benefits and cost effectiveness of the proposal.
How EQIP Works
The philosophy for EQIP in Alaska is to meet national priorities, be locally driven, and provide flexibility for landowners to achieve their diverse conservation objectives. The Alaska EQIP and WHIP Policy is available in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format. If you cannot access a PDF please call (907) 761-7760 to request another option.
Participants and their local NRCS office work together to develop conservation plans and practice designs that meet the landowner's goals and address identified natural resource concerns. Once a plan is developed, the participant may seek financial assistance through programs such as EQIP to implement the plan. Financial assistance is awarded through a contract between the participant and NRCS. The participant is responsible for installation of practices to meet NRCS standards and design specifications. Payment reimburses the participant for successful installation of the practice. The participant is then responsible for maintaining the practice. EQIP provides financial assistance payments to eligible producers based on a portion of the average cost associated with practice implementation.
Financial assistance is also available to help producers develop conservation plans with assistance from a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) through a Conservation Activity Plan (see below). Producers may also use a TSP for technical assistance needed for certain eligible activities, services and the development practice designs. Conservation plans developed by NRCS or a TSP are not required to obtain further financial assistance.
Historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, Tribes) may be eligible for a higher practice payment rate for the implementation of conservation practices and creation of conservation plans.
Conservation Activity Plans (CAP's)
Producers can apply for EQIP funding to pay for the development of plans by certified Technical Service Providers. These single, stand-alone contracts have priority ranking and should be completed within one year. Usually, only one CAP contract may be developed on eligible land. CAP payment rates are consistent with other EQIP funding, which is 75 percent for the standard rate, and 90 percent for historically underserved participants.
Fiscal Year 2014 EQIP Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) information and complete list of plans and payment schedules. (This link goes to the NRCS national website.)
These plans are specific to types of land use, such as grazing, forest, or organic farming. Examples of plans include comprehensive nutrient management, forest management, grazing management, or fish and wildlife habitat.
To learn more about Technical Service Providers, go to TSP-NRCS. For a list of approved Technical Service Providers in Alaska, click here: TSP's in Alaska
For Technical Questions for Farm Energy and Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure, contact State Engineer Brett Nelson: email@example.com
For technical questions contact State Resource Conservationist, Helen Denniston at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (907) 761-7756.
Local priorities are established by Local Working Groups (LWG). LWGs are convened in each service area and are composed of local representatives of producer groups, conservation organizations, Alaska Native entities, agribusinesses, and federal, state, and Tribal government agencies. Each LWG identifies priority resource concerns within their particular service area. For information on the LWG meeting in your area, contact your nearest NRCS Hub or Field Office. The EQIP application process is competitive for the awarding of contracts. There is no order of importance to the listing of National or State Priorities. All Priorities receive equal consideration for ranking and funding.
The following documents require Adobe Acrobat
Grazing Lands-Northern Hub
Grazing Lands-Southern Hub
Statewide Beginning Farmer
Statewide Socially Disadvantaged Farmer
Transition to Organic
How Funds are Allocated Throughout the State
Funds are allocated to address the Nation, State and Local Priorities in the form of sub-funds or funding pools. Applicants may apply for any funding pool for which they are eligible. Applicants compete for funding within the funding pools they choose. There is no competition for funds between different funding pools.
EQIP applications are accepted on a continuing basis.
Al White, Assistant State Conservationist - Programs