Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), re-authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill. The program supports production agriculture and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, farmers may receive financial and technical help with structural and management conservation practices on agricultural land.
EQIP may pay up to 75 percent of eligible conservation practice costs. Incentive payments may be made to encourage a farmer to adopt land management practices, such as nutrient management, manure management, pasture management and wildlife habitat management. Incentive payments are limited to three years in order to encourage land owners to adopt better management.
NRCS accepts applications for EQIP all year, with one or more ranking periods set annually. The deadline for consideration of fiscal year 2008 applications closes in Idaho on November 23, 2007. The ranking period for 2008 applications will begin following the close of application acceptance. The fiscal year 2009 application and ranking periods have not been determined. Sign-ups are conducted at USDA Service Centers or customers may obtain the necessary forms on-line and mail or fax in an application. If an application is faxed, the applicant must later sign the forms in person at a USDA Service Center since original signatures are required.