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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Introduction

SunflowerThe Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program. 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.

EQIP in New Hampshire offers financial assistance to help off-set the costs of eligible conservation practices. Incentive payments may also be made to encourage a farmer to adopt land management practices, such as nutrient management, manure management, integrated pest management, or wildlife habitat management. 

Farm and forestry activities in New Hampshire are good for our state, our health, and our economy. When properly planned and managed, they are also good for our natural resources.

 EQIP Brochure (427 KB pdf) 

Program Overview

EQIP provides assistance to farmers and ranchers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Through EQIP, NRCS provides assistance to agricultural producers in a manner that will promote agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals, optimize environmental benefits, and help farmers and ranchers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental requirements.

Historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, Tribes) may be eligible for a higher practice payment rate for the implementation for conservation practices and conservation plans.

Producers may use a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) for technical assistance needed for certain eligible activities, services and the development of conservation plans. Historically underserved producers may also be eligible for advance payments up to 30 percent of the cost needed to purchase materials or contracting services to begin installation of approved conservation practices.

NRCS works with the producer to develop a plan of operations that:

  1. Identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified natural resource concerns
  2. Implements conservation practices and activities according to an EQIP plan of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified natural resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions.

EQIP Special Initiatives

Eligibility

What projects may qualify for EQIP?
  • Manure storage
  • Composting
  • Erosion control
  • Nutrient management
  • Pasture management
  • Seasonal High Tunnels
  • Watering systems
  • Heavy use areas
  • Forest erosion control
  • Grassed Waterways
  • Filter strips
  • Buffers
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • And many more!
What projects do not qualify?

Building or fixing up barns and buildings, and drainage or alteration of wetlands are two examples of activities that are not eligible for cost-sharing.

  Who is eligible to apply?

Any producer engaged in livestock or crop production on eligible land may apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture land, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.

EQIP funding

Cost sharing is available for certain practices at up to 75% of actual cost to the landowner.  More information on practices and practice payment schedule

How do I get started?

We have a companion web site here on getting conservation assistance for your farm.  Then, contact your local office for information on signing up for EQIP. A conservationist will inventory your resources with you and identify opportunities to protect, maintain, or improve them. Your conservationist can help you decide how to address each problem and develop a plan for your land.  Learn more about conservation planning.

Application and Eligibility Documents

EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term that ends one year after the implementation of the last scheduled practices and a maximum term of ten years. These contracts provide financial assistance to implement conservation practices. Owners of land in agricultural production or persons who are engaged in livestock or agricultural production on eligible land may participate in the EQIP program. Program practices and activities are carried out according to an EQIP program plan of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address the resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions.

EQIP provides payments up to 75 percent of the incurred costs and income foregone of certain conservation practices and activities. However certain historically underserved producers (Limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers) may be eligible for payments up to 90 percent of the estimated incurred costs and income foregone. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) for technical assistance needed for certain eligible activities and services. The new Farm Bill established a new payment limitation for individuals or legal entity participants who may not receive, directly or indirectly, payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $300,000 for all program contracts entered during any six year period. Projects determined as having special environmental significance may, with approval of the NRCS Chief, have the payment limitation raised to a maximum of $450,000.

FY 2014 Cost Lists

FY 2013 Documents

The following are the latest documents for Fiscal Year 2013 EQIP. They require Adobe Acrobat.

Cost List & Practice Matrix (113KB, pdf)
Conservation Activity Plan EQIP - State and Local Ranking Questions (7KB, pdf)
Conservation Activity Plan EQIP - Standard and Historically Underserved Cost List (44KB, pdf)
Energy EQIP - State and Local Ranking Questions (12KB, pdf)
Energy EQIP - Standard Cost List (46KB, pdf)
Energy EQIP - Historically Underserved Cost List (46KB, pdf)
General EQIP - Local Ranking Questions (37KB, pdf)
General EQIP - State Ranking Questions (40KB, pdf)
General EQIP- Standard Cost List (67KB, pdf)
General EQIP - Historically Underserved Cost List (68KB, pdf)
New England/New York Forestry Initiative EQIP - Ranking Questions (9KB, pdf)
New England/New York and General Forestry EQIP - Standard Cost List (45KB, pdf)
New England/New York and General Forestry EQIP - Historically Underserved Cost List (46KB, pdf)
Maple EQIP - State and Local Ranking Questions (8KB, pdf)
Maple EQIP - Standard Cost List (35KB, pdf)
Maple EQIP - Historically Underserved Cost List (35KB, pdf)
National EQIP - Ranking Questions (12KB, pdf)
Organic EQIP - State and Local Ranking Questions (12KB, pdf)
Organic EQIP - Standard Cost List (56KB, pdf)
Organic EQIP - Historically Underserved Cost List (56KB, pdf)
Seasonal High Tunnel EQIP - State and Local Ranking Questions (9KB, pdf)
Seasonal High Tunnel EQIP - Standard Cost List (42KB, pdf)
Seasonal High Tunnel EQIP - Historically Underserved Cost List (43KB, pdf)

Beginning, socially disadvantaged and limited-resource farmers may be eligible for higher payment rates. Click on the links to find out if you are eligible.
 

For EQIP documents from previous years, click here.

Local Input

Local input through the State Technical Committee and local work groups help define EQIP resource concerns. Local Work Groups can be established on a county or multi-county basis, with meetings convened by the local county Conservation Districts.  Local Work Groups are an example of locally-led conservation.

The Local Work Group may advise NRCS on a number of EQIP issues including the identification of resource concerns and public outreach and information efforts.  The Local Work Group ensures that a conservation needs assessment is developed using community stakeholders input.  The assessment process helps the Local Work Group identify resource concerns, recommend practices, priorities, payment rates, cost share levels, and funding needs.  Find out about your Local Work Group by contacting your county conservation district.    

To find out more about EQIP and other conservation programs, visit your local USDA Service Center and talk with someone from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, or your local Conservation District.  For office locations, click here.

 

For More Information

National EQIP Web Site
Find your local NRCS Office

NH EQIP Contact

Deb Weymouth, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
(603) 868-7581