2015 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.
Signup and Application Information
Visit your local USDA Service Center to apply or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.
Information Flyer - How to Sign Up for Programs (English) (Vietnamese)
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.
Download NRCS conservation program application (PDF, 267KB)
EQIP in Alabama will be implemented with three goals in mind:
- To address the most severe resource concerns within the state through prudent and judicious use of EQIP funds
- To place decisions and implementation responsibilities at the lowest level possible by involving locally led partners in the decision making process
- To provide oversight and program management that is consistent with accomplishing national EQIP goals and objectives
Each county in Alabama will operate as an EQIP pool area. The local work group will advise NRCS on implementation of the regular EQIP within that county. Each county will select the practices from the list of state approved EQIP practices that will be offered within the county and the payment rates are the same for the county as the state.
A nationally developed ranking tool will be used to rank applications for funding. The local workgroup will advise NRCS on county resource ranking priorities. Copies of ranking tools are available at the local field office. The practice payment schedule is available below.
Eligible producers may receive a payment based on the statewide average cost of the installation of the conservation practice. Socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for a higher payment based on the statewide average cost of the installation of the conservation practice. In addition, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers can receive up to 30 percent advanced payment for purchasing materials or contracting.
Note: All participants that certify eligibility as a farmer or rancher under the New and Beginning, Limited Resource, Small Scale, or Socially Disadvantaged groups will provide all records necessary to justify their claim as requested by a NRCS representative. It is the responsibility of the participant to provide accurate data to support all items addressed in the application at the request of NRCS. False certifications are subject to criminal and civil fraud statutes.
2015 EQIP Program Information
Initiatives and Special Emphasis
FY 2015 County EQIP Summaries
Additional EQIP Resources
These documents may require Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Excel.
Vietnamese Farm Bill Information
Spanish Farm Bill Information
National EQIP Initiatives and Statute Supported Programs
Success Stories and News Releases
Some of these documents require Adobe Reader. If you have problems opening a .pdf document, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
EQIP Funds Conservation (Andalusia Star, pdf, 9-14)
A Happy Heart at the Pond (EQIP success story from Morgan Co. (5-13)
Sand Mountain Farmer Committed to Conservation (3-11)
Recycling and NRCS Becomes A Way of Life For Morgan Co. Producer (3/11)
Hoop House Installed in Madison County (3/11)
Organic Conservation Activity Plan Brings Life To An Organic Idea in Morgan County (3/11)
Dallas County Farmers Experience Hoop House Success (2-11)
They Teach "Old" Farmers "New Tricks" - GSP (Precision Ag) Workshop Aids Farmers (Wade Hill-Marion County NRCS (AL Cooperative Farming News, May 2010
Farmer Uses Hoop Houses, ACES Publication (.pdf 1.8 MB)
EQIP Helps Madison County Landowner (11-08)
Fort Payne’s Kitty Curington Includes Conservation Projects in Her Busy Schedule (Dekalb-Sand Mountain/Lake Guntersville Watershed Conservation District) (10-08)
Invasive Species Control Plays Vital Role on Covington County Farm (9-08)
Tuskegee Turf Farm Battles Drought with More Efficient Irrigation (PDF), (on-line in html, Alabama Cooperative Farming News, February 2008 (Fay Garner, Public Affairs Assistant, NRCS, Auburn, AL) (text only)
Crop Tree Release: A Management Method to Consider (10-06)
USDA Offers Energy Cost Offset For Completion Of EQIP Practices (1-24-06) HTML
Wyers Takes Advantage of the EQIP Program (Wyers, Walker Co), Poultry and Egg 11/05 (PDF)
Growing a Farm and Passing on a Heritage (Jones, Autauga Co) Cooperative Farming News 7/05 (PDF)
Water for Grazing System (Hendrix, Winston Co), Cooperative Farming News 4/05 (PDF)
Is it Worth It?--You Betcha! (Lowery, Russell Co), Cooperative Farming News 3/05 (PDF)
Good for Man and Good for the Cows (Johnson, Russell Co), Cooperative Farming News, 11/04 (PDF)
EQIP Funds Improve Water Quality Plus Quantity for Livestock (Manring, Covington Co), Cooperative Farming News 4/04; Land and Water 5-6/04; Forage Leader 8/04 (PDF)
New Job, Same Principles (Clark, Lawrence Co), Cooperative Farming News 2/05 (PDF)
Innovative Solutions to Problems (Hooper, Winston Co), Cooperative Farming News 10/04 (PDF)
Landowner Accomplishes Goals with EQIP Assistance in Lee County (PDF, 239 KB)
EQIP Helps Covington County Farmer (PDF, 143 KB)
EQIP Helps Walker County Landowner (PDF, 187 KB)
Thirsty Animals (Mullican, Lawrence Co), not published (PDF)
A Love and a Living (Hay, Talladega Co), not published (PDF)
Contact your local Service Center for further guidelines and details of the program.
NRCS State Office contact Steve Musser, USDA–NRCS, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, phone: (334) 887-4503.