Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

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South Carolina FY 2014 EQIP Sign-Up and Application Information

Prioritized funding deadline is December 20, 2013.

South Carolina Ranking Dates for 2014 EQIP Conservation Initiatives

On-Farm Energy, Organic, and Seasonal High Tunnel .

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year.  At the end of a ranking period, NRCS ranks all submitted proposals for funding consideration. NRCS will notify all applicants of the results of the rankings and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.

Initiative Overviews

On-Farm Energy Initiative: NRCS and producers develop Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) or farm energy audits that assess energy consumption on an operation. NRCS then uses audit data to develop energy conservation recommendations. Each AgEMP has a landscape component that assesses equipment and farming processes and a farm headquarters component that assesses power usage and efficiencies in livestock buildings, grain handling operations, and similar facilities to support the farm operation.

Organic Initiative: NRCS helps certified organic growers and producers working to achieve organic certification install conservation practices for organic production.  Applicants will be evaluated continuously during the ranking periods. Applications meeting or exceeding a threshold score may be approved for an EQIP contract before the end of the ranking period. Applications rating below the threshold score will be deferred to the next period. A new threshold score will be established at the beginning of each ranking period. This new scoring process allows organic producers to implement conservation practices in a timelier manner.

Seasonal High Tunnel Pilot Initiative: NRCS helps producers plan and implement high tunnels, steel-framed, polyethylene-covered structures that extend growing seasons in an environmentally safe manner. High tunnel benefits include better plant and soil quality, fewer nutrients and pesticides in the environment, and better air quality due to fewer vehicles being needed to transport crops. More than 4,000 high tunnels have been planned and implemented nationwide through this initiative over the past two years. For more information, contact your local NRCS office.

Conservation Programs Protect Soil, Water, and Wildlife

EQIP helps farmers improve production while protecting environmental quality by addressing such concerns as soil erosion and productivity, grazing management, water quality, animal waste, and forestry concerns. EQIP also assists eligible small-scale farmers who have historically not participated in or ranked high enough to be funded in previous program sign ups. WHIP assists landowners who want to improve wildlife habitat or restore natural ecosystems on their land.

There is a continuous signup for these programs; however, to increase your chances of funding, apply by December 20, 2013. Producers interested in applying should visit their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible to prepare their applications.

General Program Description

All sign-ups are conducted at  USDA Service Centers in South Carolina.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. It 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.

In South Carolina, EQIP will pay 75 percent of the costs of eligible conservation practices under the general sign-up. Historically Underserved who are Limited Resource, Socially Disadvantaged, and Beginning Farmers are eligible for 90 percent cost share.  Those to be considered Socially Disadvantaged for this program are American Indians and Alaskan Natives, Asians, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders.  Incentive payments may be made to encourage a farmer to adopt land management practices, such as nutrient management, manure management, integrated pest management, precision farming, and wildlife habitat management. 

Organic Initiative and High Tunnel Study

The Farm Bill provides specific opportunities for organic producers and those transitioning to organic farming. South Carolina farmers who are transitioning to organic or who are currently certified organic can apply to receive assistance under the Organic Initiative through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Funding is also available through EQIP for a High Tunnel Pilot Study which will enable producers to experiment with structures (also called “hoop houses”) that can help them reduce pesticide use, keep vital nutrients in the soil, extend the growing season, increase yields, and provide other benefits to growers. A number of "core" organic conservation practices may be funded through the EQIP Organic Initiative, including cover crops, conservation crop rotation, prescribed grazing, pest management, nutrient management, and forage harvest management.


South Carolina EQIP Programs



Application Deadline

Additional Documents

General EQIP 

Owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on the land may participate in EQIP.

December 20, 2013


National EQIP Initiatives Description Ranking Application Deadline Additional Documents

National Water
Quality Initiative

The Water Quality Initiative is a focused approach to assist landowners in priority watersheds apply selected conservation practices to reduce the flow of sediment, nutrients and other runoff into impaired waterways.



National Longleaf Pine Initiative

The Longleaf Pine Initiative provides financial assistance to restore longleaf pine forest including site preparation, planting longleaf pine, installing firebreaks, conducting prescribed burning, and controlling invasive plants.



On-Farm Energy Initiative

The EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative identifies ways to conserve energy on the farm through an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP), also known as an on-farm energy audit; and by providing financial and technical assistance to help the producer implement recommendations and conservation practices in the audit plan.



Organic Initiative

The EQIP Organic Initiative is a special pool of money offered in all 50 states for farmers who are organic, transitioning to organic, or organic exempt with unique practices and payments determined by each state. Producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP) or carry out practices consistent with an OSP.  



Seasonal High
Tunnel Initiative

The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural product growers.  The goal of the initiative is to assist producers to extent the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner.



State EQIP Initiatives


Application Cutoff Date

Additional Documents

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches in conjunction with agricultural production.




2014 EQIP Program Documents

If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact Sabrenna Bryant at 803-765-5419.

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.

2014 EQIP Cost List (PDF; 260 KB)
2013 EQIP Payment Schedule (EXCEL file)
2012 EQIP Payment Schedule (PDF; 220 KB)

EQIP Overview and Application Tools

How EQIP Works in South Carolina


Links to Other Useful Documents for theEQIP Program

EQIP Archives 

FY 2012

FY 2011
FY 2010


Shaun Worley
Program Specialist

Phone: 803-253-3512

Last Modified:01/03/2013