How EQIP Works
How the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Works
EQIP is a continuous sign-up, voluntary, conservation program administered by
the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that provides financial and
technical assistance for approved conservation practices based on a current
The purposes of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is to
promote agricultural production, forest management, and environmental quality as
compatible goals; optimize environmental benefits; and help farmers and ranchers
meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations.
NRCS encourages customers to submit an application at any time. EQIP
applications are accepted on a continuous basis with periodic application
ranking cut-offs when applications are ranked for funding. Applications received
after the application ranking cut-off will be considered in the next ranking
Interested applicants are encouraged to request conservation planning and
technical assistance from a local NRCS field office to help with the development
of a conservation plan. A conservation plan is the basis for an EQIP
EQIP cannot provide financial assistance for the same practice enrolled on
the same land as any other USDA conservation program.
On-Farm Conservation Planning
A conservation plan is the basis for an EQIP application. Applicants will
need an up-to-date conservation plan that describes the conservation practices
to be implemented, the timing of the implementation, the practice location, and
the conservation benefit to be achieved.
NRCS will work with producers to develop a plan of operations that:
- Identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to
address identified natural resource concerns
- Implements conservation practices and activities according to an EQIP plan
of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the
appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified
natural resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical
standards adapted for local conditions.
Producers may use a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) for technical
assistance needed for certain eligible activities, services and the development
of conservation plans.
EQIP Initiatives: Ranking and Funding Pools
EQIP Initiatives are funding opportunities created to assure funds are
available to resource priorities across various land use types, for special
emphasis resource needs and to assure that underserved groups have access to
An EQIP Initiative is a ranking and funding pool where similar applications
are evaluated. Applications for an EQIP Initiative will be evaluated based on
screening and ranking criteria that consider the benefits of planned
conservation practices as identified by local, state and national priorities.
Participants may not receive, directly or indirectly, payments that, in the
aggregate, exceed $300,000 for all EQIP contracts entered into during any
Participants whose projects NRCS determines to have special environmental
significance may petition the NRCS Chief for the payment limitation to be waived
to a maximum of $450,000.
Additional payment limitations apply to producers enrolled in the EQIP
Historically Underserved Producers
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 for
conservation practices and conservation plans.
Historically underserved producers may also be eligible for advance payments
up to 30 percent of the cost needed to purchase materials or contracting
services to begin installation of approved conservation practices.
Alan Forkey, Program Manager
Erik Beardsley, Program Specialist