The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts. These contracts provide financial assistance for producers to address soil, water and related natural resource concerns on private agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations. Throughout Illinois, producers have received assistance to implement conservation practices that include, but are not limited to, nutrient management, cover crops, terraces, grassed waterways, manure management facilities, and pasture management.
Applying for EQIP
EQIP is available to producers or owners of eligible land with a natural resource concern. The land can be either in agricultural or forest production including producers engaged in livestock production.
Applications for EQIP are accepted on a continuous basis; however Illinois NRCS has established four application cutoff dates. The four application cutoff dates are listed below:
November 15, 2013
January 17, 2014
March 21, 2014
May 16, 2014
Illinois agricultural producers who submit a signed application, NRCS-CPA-1200 form, at their local NRCS field offices by the deadline will be evaluated for funding consideration.
Applicants must complete the NRCS-CPA-1200 application form available at their local field office or download the application and return the form to their local NRCS field office. After submitting an application, the applicant will also receive a copy of the NRCS-CPA-1202 Contract Appendix, explaining EQIP contract terms and conditions. Reviewing the contract appendix up front helps the applicant understand the requirements of the EQIP program. In addition, all applicants need to meet eligibility requirements in order to be an EQIP participant. Contact your local office to discuss eligibility criteria.
EQIP is a competitive process and EQIP applicants compete for funds in funding pools. The funding pools are established on a statewide, Illinois NRCS area-wide, or watershed basis. The various funding pool categories allow similar applications types to be grouped together when competing for funds.
In order to compete, EQIP applications are ranked using the ranking and supporting documents below. The local NRCS office staff will work with the applicant to rank the application and plan the conservation practices. Your local NRCS office can explain the various funding pools and assist you with the ranking.
For help with the EQIP program in Illinois contact your local NRCS office.
2014 Illinois EQIP Funding Pools and Ranking Documents
Illinois Funding Pools
The primary focus of the General EQIP funding pool is to address soil erosion and water quality resource concerns on cropland and adjacent incidental areas. The funding pool is managed on an area-wide basis, so applicants within an NRCS Area are competing against each other.
The Forest Management Implementation (FMI) statewide funding pool is for producers with non-industrial private forestland. The goal of the ranking is to address resource issues where forest-related products are produced.
The Grazing Land funding pool is available to applicants statewide that graze livestock. The program is to address natural resource concerns on operations involving the production, growing, raising, or reproducing of livestock.
A priority of EQIP is for the promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation. The Wildlife Habitat Conservation funding pool is available to Illinois producers who will restore, develop, or enhance wildlife habitat.
EQIP funding is available for the development of a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP). A 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, or can also address a specific resource need such a plan for management of nutrients.
The Organic Initiative provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for organic producers or those transitioning to organic. The Initiative addresses natural resource concerns and also helps growers meet requirements related to National Organic Program (NOP) requirements.
The purpose of the Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops is to assist producers to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner. The practice has the potential to assist producers to address resource concerns by improving plant quality, improving soil quality, and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport.
The On-Farm Energy Initiative enables the producer to identify ways to conserve energy on the farm through two types of Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) for headquarters and/or for landscape, also known as an on-farm energy audit (headquarters and/or landscape); and by providing financial and technical assistance to help the producer implement various measures and practices recommended in these on-farm energy audits.
Driftless Area Conservation Landscape Initiative (DALCI)
DALCI will target soil erosion and wildlife habitat in the four-state Driftless area. In Illinois, all or portions of the following counties are in the Driftless area: Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, Winnebago, and Whiteside.
When developing the EQIP contract, the NRCS planner will select the practice scenario that is best suited. The ‘Payment Scenario Descriptions’ lists the practices scenarios available through EQIP. For each conservation practice, there are one or more scenarios offered to implement the practice. The scenario description explains the scenario requirements, materials, and/or special considerations. Also specified in the table are the payment amounts and the unit by which the payment is calculated.
Entities that use a tax identification number must obtain a Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when the EQIP application is selected for funding. In addition to DUNS, the entity must register at SAM.gov. This fact sheets explains the requirements, provides the web addresses, and outlines the steps to take.
The term historically underserved producer means an eligible person or legal entity that is an Indian Tribe, beginning farmer or rancher, socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, or limited-resource farmer or rancher. The fact sheet defines the groups to help individuals determine whether or not they qualify as a member of one of these unique groups.