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Conservation Activity Plans (CAPS)

FY 2015 EQIP Conservation Activity Plan (CAP)

What Is A Conservation Activity Plan?

A Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need. Typically, these plans are specific to certain kinds of land use such as:

  • transitioning to organic operations
  • grazing land
  • forest land

A CAP can also address a specific resource need, such as a nutrient management or herbicide resistance issue. With a CAP plan, producers may apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices.

What Authority Does NRCS Have For CAPs?

Farm Bill legislation provides NRCS the authority to use financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for practice payments to develop plans appropriate for the eligible land of a program participant. The Act specifically authorizes EQIP to be used for comprehensive nutrient management plans and other plans that further the purposes of the program. The conservation practice associated with plan development under this authority is known as a Conservation Activity Plan, or CAP.

How Do CAP Costs and Payments Work?

The Farm Bill statute allows EQIP payments based upon the estimated incurred cost of practice implementation, which for a CAP will be the labor costs typically associated with development of a plan that meets agency standards and requirements.

The payment is increased for qualifying historically underserved producers.

NRCS approves CAPs and contract payment rates offered through EQIP every fiscal year.

Producers should check with their local NRCS office to find out which CAPs are offered in their state; each state may support only specific CAPs. The list of nationally approved CAP practices can be downloaded from the Fiscal Year 2015 CAP Resources section below.

Eligible producers may apply at their local NRCS office. EQIP payments are made directly to program participants for development of a CAP. These CAP plans may only be developed by an NRCS-certified Technical Service Provider (TSP). Although NRCS personnel are prohibited from developing CAPs, they can assist with the development of conservation plans to address identified resource concerns.

How Do I Find a Technical Service Provider?

The NRCS national TSP website provides information about Technical Service Providers, such as:

  • CAP services provided by certified TSPs
  • How to find a TSP in your state
  • How to be to become a certified Technical Service Provider

What Technical Requirements Do CAPs Have?

Technical requirements and planning criteria for each CAP are listed in each State's Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG). and in the CAP planning criteria available for download on in the NRCS Technical Guidance Bulletin section below. This information includes the details of what must be included in each kind of CAP approved for support through EQIP.

Detailed technical information should be located in Section III of each state's FOTG.

How Do I Apply For A CAP?

To obtain an EQIP application, visit or contact your local NRCS field office.

NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis.

However, NRCS establishes application cut-off or submission deadline dates for evaluation and ranking of eligible applications.


If the property you wish to enroll in EQIP is not located in Connecticut: Click on Show State Offices (below) to see a list of all NRCS state office websites. Choose the state where the property  is located. The link will take you to that state's EQIP page.The state's EQIP page includes application ranking criteria, priority resource concerns, lists of eligible practices, payment rates, information about where you can submit applications, eligibility requirements and other program requirements.

Show State Offices


Fiscal Year 2015 CAP Resources

Fiscal Year 2015 Program Guidance

Document or Resource Name


NRCS Fiscal Year 2015 CAP Guidance Bulletin
National Bulletin 300-15-x-LTP
(PDF, 68KB)

NRCS program policy and technical guidance to support implementation of CAPs through EQIP program.

Attachment A. Approved FY 2015 CAPs, Associated ProTracts Subaccounts and General Descriptions (PDF, 36KB)

Guidance to State Conservationists for which CAPs must be offered and how to rank applications the agency contracting software (ProTracts); general descriptions of each CAP.

Attachment B. Approved FY 2016 CAP Payment Rates (PDF, 115KB)

Lists all the nationally approved payment rates for CAP practice payments.

Attachment C. Approved FY 2015 CAP Planning Criteria and Plan Templates (PDF, 13KB)

Shows the requirements for each CAP plan developed by certified TSPs. Additional “templates” may be available for specific CAPs to help further support development of the CAP.


CAP Code

CAP Plan Name

CAP Payment Schedule



Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (DOC, 146KB)

Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (PDF, 622KB)

A comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) is a conservation plan for an animal feeding operation (AFO). It documents how nutrients and contaminants will be managed in the production and land treatment areas of the farm to protect animal health, human health and the environment.


Nutrient Management Plan (DOC, 35KB)

Nutrient Management Plan (PDF, 543KB)

A nutrient management plan is a document of record of how nutrients will be managed for plant production and to address the environmental concerns related to the offsite movement of nutrients from agricultural fields.


Forest Management Plan (DOC, 37KB)

Guide for Forester Joint Management Plan Template (PDF, 160KB)

Guide for Landowners Joint Management Plan Template (PDF, 175KB)

Managing Your Woodlands - Joint Management Template (DOC, 454KB)

Managing Your Woodlands - Management Template (PDF, 328KB)


Forest Management Plan – Mountain Region (PDF, 533KB)

Forest Management Plan – Other Region (PDF, 558KB)

A forest management plan is a site-specific plan developed for a client, which addresses one or more resource concerns on land where forestry-related conservation activities or practices will be planned and applied.


Feed Management Plan (DOC, 25KB)

Feed Management Plan (PDF, 554KB)

A feed management plan is a farm-specific plan developed for a client, to document control of the quantity and quality of available nutrients, feedstuffs, and/or additives fed to livestock and poultry.


Grazing Management Plan (DOC, 44KB)


Grazing Management Plan (PDF, 547KB)


A grazing management plan is a site-specific plan, developed with a client to address one or more resource concerns on land where grazing related activities or practices will be applied.



Prescribed Burning Plan (DOC, 50KB)

Prescribed Burning Plan (PDF, 565KB)

A prescribed burning plan is a site-specific plan developed with a client which addresses one or more resource concerns on land through the use of fire.


Integrated Pest Management (DOC, 29KB)

Integrated Pest Management Template (DOC, 26KB)


Integrated Pest Management (PDF, 542KB)


Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based, sustainable approach to manage pests. It uses a combination of techniques such as chemical tools biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices and use of resistant varieties of cultivars.


Irrigation Water Management Plan (DOC 448)


Irrigation Water Management Plan (PDF, 531KB)


Irrigation Water Management (IWM) controls the volume, frequency, and rate of water for efficient irrigation. Measuring soil moisture, water use by plants and climate help decide when to irrigate, and how much water to apply.



Agricultural Energy Management Plan (DOC, 58KB)


Agricultural Energy Management Plan (PDF, 574KB)


An Agricultural Energy Management Plan- Headquarters (AgEMP) is a detailed documentation of energy consuming components and practices of the current operation, the previous year’s on-farm energy consumption, and the strategy by which the producer will explore and address their on-farm energy conservation concerns, objectives, and opportunities.



Drainage Water Management Plan (DOC, 46KB)


Drainage Water Management Plan (PDF, 558KB)


Drainage Water Management (DWM) controls soil water table elevations and the timing of water discharges from subsurface or surface agricultural drainage systems. giving the opportunity for crop use of the subsurface water and nutrients.



Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition (DOC, 31KB)

Organic Transition Template (DOC, 67KB)



Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition (PDF, 536KB)


A “Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition” is a conservation activity plan documenting decisions by producers/growers who agree to implement a system of conservation practices which assist the producer to transition from conventional farming or ranching systems to an organic production system.



Fish and Wildlife Habitat Plan (DOC, 61KB)


Fish and Wildlife Habitat Plan (PDF, 530KB)


A fish and wildlife habitat plan is a site specific plan developed with a client who is ready to plan and implement conservation activities or practices with consideration for fish and wildlife habitat.



Pollinator Habitat Plan (DOC, 44KB)


Pollinator Habitat Plan (PDF, 535KB)


A pollinator habitat enhancement plan is a site-specific conservation plan developed for a client that addresses the improvement, restoration, enhancement, expansion of flower-rich habitat that supports native and/or managed pollinators.



IPM Herbicide Resistant Weed Conservation Plan (DOC, 32KB)

IPM Herbicide Resistant Weed Conservation Template (DOC, 22KB)


IPM Herbicide Resistant Weed Conservation Plan (PDF, 545KB)


Integrated Pest Management Herbicide Resistance Weed Conservation Plan emphasizes modifications in herbicide use to suppress weeds on cropland.



Previous CAP Resources

FY 2014 Conservation Activity Plans | FY 2013 Conservation Activity Plans

What are the payment rates and terms?

Program payment rates for CAPs are calculated to be approximately 75% of the typical cost of plan preparation by an approved Technical Service Provider. If the applicant is a beginning farmer, socially disadvantaged, or limited resource producer (all considered historically underserved categories), the rates are 90%. Payments are made after the CAP is submitted to NRCS for review.

List of CAPs

102 Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan
104 Nutrient Management Plan
106 Forest Management Plan
108 Feed Management Plan
110 Grazing Management Plan
112 Prescribed Burning Plan
114 Integrated Pest Management Plan
118 Irrigation Water Management Plan
128 Agricultural  Energy Management Plan
130 Drainage Water Management Plan
138 Conservation Plan - Organic Transition
142 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Plan
146 Pollinator Habitat Enhancement Plan


Contracts are subject to payment limitations. No applicant may receive more than $300,000 during any 6-year period. Organic farms have a limitation of $80,000 during any 6-year period with an annual limit of $20,000.


Joyce Purcell
Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
(860) 871-4028