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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Staff Contact: Tim Garrahan, Farm Bill Specialist

Phone: (302) 678-4260
FAX: (302) 678-0843


Delaware State EQIP Program Information

EQIP - 2017

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

Click here for the 2017 EQIP Payment Schedule (180 KB) (under construction)


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.

2017 National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)

Batch Dates for 2017 NWQI - April 21, 2017 and May 19 2017

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has committed $139,000 in exlusive funding to help Delaware farmers in the Clear Brook-Nanticoke River watershed make improvements to their land to improve water quality.

Through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), farmers can invest in voluntary conservation practices to reduce the runoff of nutrients, sediment and pathogens from agricultural land that can flow into waterways. Now in its fifth year, NWQI builds on efforts to target high-impact conservation in areas such as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The goal of NWQI is to concentrate conservation practices within select watersheds to maximize favorable gains in the effort to improve water quality. Eligible practices include nutrient management, manure storage structures, composters, no-till, cover crops and filter strips.

For More Information on NWQI Click Here

National and State Resource Priorities

National Priorities

EQIP can provide financial and technical assistance to plan and design such measures as, but not limited to, the following.

  • Grazing management: fencing, stockwater systems, range and pasture planting
  • Nutrient management: manure storage structures, planned nutrient applications, soil testing
  • Pest management: crop and pest monitoring activities
  • Erosion control: grade control structures, diversions, water and sediment control basins
  • Wildlife habitat enhancement: stream buffers, upland wildlife habitat establishment

These and the many other measures included in EQIP can help producers accomplish a variety of operational goals, which may include:

  • Improvements to the long-term productivity and sustainability of an agricultural operation;
  • Improved condition of crops and forage for livestock;
  • Reduced costs for fuel, labor, fertilizers and pesticides;
  • Energy efficient systems and field operations; and
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements.

State Priorities

  1. Reduction of non-point source pollutants including nutrients, sediment, and pesticides in impaired watersheds consistent with TMDL’s as well as the reduction of groundwater contamination.
  • Agricultural Waste Management Systems - Nutrients, Sediments
  • Integrated Crop Management Systems - Nutrients, Pesticides
  • Planned Grazing Management Systems - Nutrients, Sediments
  1. Conservation of ground and surface water resources
  • Irrigation Water Management Systems - Water conservation
  1. Reduction of emissions such as particulate matter and volatile organic compounds that contribute to air quality impairment.
  • Agricultural Waste Management Systems - Volatile organic compounds
  • Poultry House Windbreak Management Systems - Particulate matter
  1. Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from erodible land.
  • Erosion Control Systems - Sediments
  1. Promotion of at-risk species habitat recovery
  • Biodiversity Management Systems - Habitat recovery


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.

Participant Responsibilities

  • Control or own eligible land
  • Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions
  • Comply with DUNS and SAMS requirements if operate as an entity
  • 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.

Accepting Applications

EQIP applications are accepted through a continuous sign-up process. NRCS encourages customers to apply at any time and periodically announces cutoff dates when applications are ranked for funding. EQIP is open to all eligible ag producers. The following document describes how to apply for Farm Bill programs. 2017 EQIP Conservation Program Application (52 KB)

  • Information about participant and land eligibility for EQIP
  •  FY 2017 Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) Information (link to National Site)
  • Organic Initiative  (link to National Site)
  • FY 2017 Application Cutoff Dates:

  •  1st Application Cutoff Date – October 21, 2016
  •  2nd Application Cutoff Date – November 18, 2016
  •  3rd Application Cutoff Date – December 16, 2016
  •  4th Application Cutoff Date - January 20, 2017
  •  5th Application Cutoff Dare - February 17, 2017
  •  6th Application Cutoff Date - March 17, 2017
  •  7th Application Cutoff Date - April 21, 2017
  • 8th Application Cutoff Date - May 19, 2017

Notice: Starting a practice prior to written contract approval will result in the ineligibility of that practice for EQIP assistance unless a waiver has been approved.

Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers, Military Veteran Farmers

The 2014 Farm Bill continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers and Veteran Farmers. It provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services. Enhancements include streamlined delivery of technical and financial assistance; improved programs and services; and flexibility in decision making (with most decisions made at the Tribal, State, or local level)

For definitions of socially disadvantaged, beginning farmer, limited resource farmer and military veteran farmers, please click here.

How to Apply

Visit your local USDA Service Center to apply or visit

Delaware Local USDA Service Centers

New Castle County Agricultural Center
2430 Old County Road
Newark, Delaware 19702
Phone:302-832-3100 FAX:302-834-0783

Kent County Agricultural Center
800 Bay Road
Suite #2
Dover,  Delaware 19901-4667
Phone:302-741-2600 FAX:302-741-0347

Sussex County Agricultural Center
21315 Berlin Road
Unit #3
Georgetown, Delaware 19947
Phone:302-856-3990 FAX:302-856-4381

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.

More Information/Forms

2017 EQIP Application - CCC 1200 (52 KB)

2017 EQIP Payment Schedule (180 KB)

2017 EQIP Cover Crop Policy (18 KB)

2017 EQIP Irrigation History Certification Form (17 KB)

2017 EQIP Organic Initiative Self Certification Form 922 KB)

2017 Agreements for TSPs (17 KB)

2017 Control of Land Forms (24 KB)

2017 EQIP Screening Tool (34 KB)

2017 EQIP Fencing Information (15 KB)

Form 4385 (328 KB)

2017 EQIP Irrigation Policy (15 KB)

2017 EQIP Other Eligibility (25 KB)

2017 EQIP Poultry Waste Structure Policy (13 KB)

2017 EQIP Wells Form Livestock (16 KB)

2017 EQIP Wells Form (18 KB)

2017 Delaware EQIP Ranking Tools (under construction)

2017 EQIP Beef and Dairy Other HQ Kent/NCC (XLSX; 25 KB)

2017 EQIP Beef and Dairy Other HQ Sussex (XLSX; 25 KB)

2017 EQIP Beef and Dairy Other with Land Kent/NCC (XLSX; 25 KB)

2017 EQIP Beef and Dairy Other with Land Sussex (XLSX; 25 KB)

2017 EQIP Beginning LRF Farmer (XLSX; 25 KB)


2017 EQIP Cover Crop Kent/NCC (XLSX; 24 KB)

2017 EQIP Cover Crop Sussex (XLSX; 24 KB)

2017 EQIP Cropland Kent/NCC (XLSX; 24 KB)

2017 EQIP Cropland Sussex (XLSX; 24 KB)

2017 EQIP Cropland Irrigation (XLSX; 24 KB)

2017 EQIP Cropland Pollinator (XLSX; 23 KB)

2017 EQIP CAP Drainage Water Management (XLSX; 15 KB)

2017 EQIP CAP Energy (XLSX; 14 KB)

2017 EQIP Energy Practices (XLSX; 16 KB)

2017 EQIP CAP Fish and Wildlife (XLSX; 14 KB)

2017 EQIP CAP Forest (XLSX; 15 KB)

2017 EQIP Forestry (XLSX; 23 KB)

2017 EQIP Freezer (XLSX; 23 KB)

2017 EQIP CAP Grazing (XLSX; 14 KB)



2017 EQIP Nutrient Management (XLSX 15)

2017 EQIP Organic Certified (XLSX; 25 KB)

2017 EQIP Organic Transition (XLSX; 24 KB)

2017 EQIP Pasture (XLSX; 25 KB)

2017 EQIP CAP Pollinator (XLSX; 14 KB)

2017 EQIP Poultry Headquarters (XLSX; 24 KB) 

2017 EQIP Poultry Remediation (XLSX; 24 KB) 

2017 EQIP Poultry with Land (XLSX; 25 KB) 

2017 EQIP Socially Disadvantaged Farmer (XLSX; 29 KB) 

2017 EQIP Seasonal High Tunnel (XLSX 15 KB)

EQIP Fact Sheet (PDF, 1MB)

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit

Detailed EQIP Information

To see more detailed program information about EQIP, visit the EQIP program homepage.

There are several National EQIP Initiatives available: Air Quality, On-Farm Energy, Organic and Seasonal High Tunnel.