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Conservation Activity Plans

What Is A Conservation Activity Plan?

A Conservation Activity Plan or 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 nutrient management or  an air quality concern. With a CAP plan, producers can then 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 of 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 meeting 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. 

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 FOTG. You can find State- and county-level technical guidance on the FOTG County Locator page.

How Do I Find a Technical Service Provider?

You can find information about Technical Service Providers, such as:

  • CAP services provided by certified TSPs
  • finding a TSP in your State
  • how to be to become a certified Technical Service Provider

on the North Carolina TSP Website or NRCS national TSP website. 

2016 CAP Payment and Ranking Documents

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat

2016 CAP Payment Rates (DRAFT) (PDF)

Approved 2015 CAPs offered in North Carolina
Practice Code Conservation Activity Plan Name

General Description

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat
102 Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan A comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) is a conservation plan for an animal feeding operation (AFO) that documents how nutrients and contaminants will be managed in the production and land treatment areas of the farm to protect animal & human health, and the environment. CAP 102 CNMP Criteria
104 Nutrient Management Plan Nutrient management plans are documents 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. CAP 104 Nutrient Management Plan Criteria
106 Forest Management Plan 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.

CAP 106 Forest Management Plan Criteria 

CAP 106 Guide for Forester for Joint Mgt Plan

CAP 106 Guide for Landowners for Joint Mgt Plan

106 Managing Your Woodlands National ATFS FS NRCS Joint Mgt. Plan

108 Feed Management Plan A feed management plan is a farm-specific documented plan developed for a client who addresses manipulation and control of the quantity and quality of available nutrients, feedstuffs, and/or additives fed to livestock and poultry. 108 Feed Management Plan Criteria
110 Grazing Management Plan 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. CAP 110 Grazing Management Plan Criteria
112 Prescribed Burning Plan A prescribed burning plan is a site-specific plan developed with a client that addresses one or more resource concerns on land through the use of fire. CAP 112 Prescribed Burning Plan Development Criteria
114 Irrigation Water Management Plan Integrated pest management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that is a sustainable approach to manage pests using a combination of techniques such as chemical tools biological control, habitat manipulation, and modification of cultural practices and use of resistant varieties.

CAP 114 Conservation Plan Supporting Integrated Pest Management Plan

CAP 114 Template for Conservation Plan Supporting Integrated Pest Management

118 Agricultural Energy Management Plan The objective of irrigation water management (IWM) is to control the volume, frequency, and rate of water for efficient irrigation. Measurements of soil moisture, plant water use, and climate provide feedback to decide when to irrigate, and how much water to apply. CAP 118 Irrigation Water Management Plan criteria
128 Agricultural Energy Management Plan 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. CAP 128 Agricultural Energy Management Plan Criteria
130 Drainage Water Management Plan The objective of drainage water management (DWM) is to control soil water table elevations and the timing of water discharges from subsurface or surface agricultural drainage systems, allowing the opportunity for crop use of the subsurface water and nutrients. CAP 130 Drainage Water Management Plan Criteria
138 Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition 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.

CAP 138 Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition Plan Criteria

CAP 138 Template for Conservation Plan Supporting organic Transition Plan

142 Fish and wildlife Habitat Plan 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. CAP 142 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management Plan Criteria
146 Pollinator Habitat Plan 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. CAP 146 Pollinator Habitat Enhancement Plan Criteria
154 IPM Herbicide Resistant Weed Conservation Plan  Integrated pest management herbicide resistance weed conservation plan is a plan with emphasis on modifying herbicide use for suppressing weeds on cropland.

CAP 154 IPM Herbicide Resistance Weed Conservation Plan Criteria


CAP 154 Template Conservation Plan  Support IPM Herbicide Resistant Weed Conservation

For additional information, contact your local USDA-NRCS office, or visit the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program web page.