Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land.
EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis, however, NRCS establishes application "cut-off" or submission deadline dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers and submitted applications may be considered or evaluated in multiple funding pool opportunities.
NRCS-New York has set November 21, 2014 as the application cutoff date for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the 2015 fiscal year.
Applications accepted after November 21, 2014 may be considered for funding if additional application rounds are announced or for potential consideration in 2016. All applications are competitive and are ranked based on national, state and locally identified resource priorities and the overall benefit to the environment.
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.
- Control or own eligible land
- Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions
- 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. Learn more about the the criteria required to become an eligible EQIP applicant.
Applicants are responsible for completing and filing all application and eligibility paperwork as required. If funded, participants are required to sign a contract and agree to implement the planned conservation practices to NRCS standards and specifications as scheduled.
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 increased payment rates and advance payments of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract.
New York is committed to reaching out to Historically Underserved individuals and groups. Historically Underserved participants may also receive higher payment rates in addition to being considered in high priority funding pools. See the Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers page for the NRCS definition of the Historically Underserved.
National and State Priorities
The following national priorities, consistent with statutory resources concerns that include soil, water, wildlife, air quality, and related natural resource concerns, may be used in EQIP implementation:
- Reductions of non-point source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with total maximum daily loads (TMDL) where available; the reduction of surface and groundwater contamination; and the reduction of contamination from agricultural sources, such as animal feeding operations
- Conservation of ground and surface water resources
- Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
- Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land
- Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat
- Energy conservation to help save fuel, improve efficiency of water use, maintain production, and protect soil and water resources by more efficiently using fertilizers and pesticides and
- Biological carbon storage and sequestration
In addition, New York has identified the following priorities:
- Livestock: address natural resource concerns for storage, treatment, and management of animal waste and nutrients.
- Cropland: assist producers with resource concerns on cropland such as soil health, soil quality, and erosion.
- Water Quality: help producers with installing conservation practices such as Waste Storage Structures, Heavy Use Area Protection, Riparian Buffers, Cover Crops, Filter strips and Waterways to address phosphorus, pathogens, and sediment impairments that can relate to soil erosion, exposed soil, and the lack of riparian buffers or filter strips.
- Forestry: producers with non-industrial private forestland may receive financial assistance to develop a forest stewardship plan or to implement practices within an approved forest stewardship plan.
- Wildlife habitat enhancement: Targeted species, e.g., migratory birds, endangered and species of concern and their habitat, to reverse the decline and benefit other species with similar habitat needs.
- Grazing: assist producers with approved grazing plan to treat resource concerns related to grazing systems including plant health and vigor, soil health, soil erosion and water quality.
Decision Making Process for EQIP
Input from Outside Groups, Agencies, and Citizens: The list of eligible practices in New York, payment rates and limits, eligible resource concerns, and state scoring criteria are developed based on input and recommendations from the State Technical Committee (STC). The STC is made up of representatives from various agribusinesses, producer groups, conservation organizations, and federal, state, and tribal government agency representatives.
The Local Work Group process and scoring criteria, are based on input from the counties in the Local Work Groups (LWG).
The priorities set at the state and county level are those that the STC and LWG respectively determined were of the greatest need and would have the greatest positive environmental impact. The scoring process at both the state and local level was developed in order to select those projects that would provide the greatest environmental benefit, and therefore provide the greatest public good.
New York EQIP Funding Pools and Ranking Documents
Click on your county to view payment schedules and rankings.
These web pages are under development. Not all links are active.
Please check back regularly for updated information. Last Update: December 16, 2014
Please report any broken or misdirected links to Gary Vandawalker.
There are several specific initiatives and unique funding opportunities now offered under EQIP in New York. For detailed information on each EQIP initiative, see below.
NRCS New York has program opportunities using EQIP funding or EQIP authorities available in specific regions or watersheds of the state. Each regional opportunity addresses critical natural resource concerns that have been identified in the multi-state efforts.
Working Lands for Wildlife
Working Lands for Wildlife is a new partnership between NRCS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to use agency technical expertise combined with $33 million in financial assistance from the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program to combat the decline of seven specific wildlife species whose decline can be reversed and will benefit other species with similar habitat needs. Three of the target species are the focus of New York's participation in Working Lands for Wildlifeï»¿.
Cayuga, Columbia, Dutchess, Onondaga, Orange, Oswego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Seneca, Sullivan, Ulster, Wayne, Westchester
Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, St. Lawrence, Sullivan, Westchester
|New England Cottontail
Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam, Rensselaer, Westchester
How to Apply for USDA-NRCS Conservation Programs
Learn what steps you will need to take to prepare for, and submit, your application to become a USDA-NRCS Conservation Program participant.
Learn more information on the criteria required to become an eligible EQIP applicant.
This document requires Adobe Reader.
EQIP Fact Sheet (PDF; 1.6 MB)
To learn how to get started with NRCS.
Find your local USDA Service Center.
Sign up for Farm Bill email updates