The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to help them install and implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land. Through EQIP, farmers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands can receive assistance to improve agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals.
EQIP provides financial assistance payments to eligible producers based on a portion of the typical costs associated with conservation planning and practice implementation. EQIP activities are carried out according to a conservation plan that NRCS Field Office staff develop in conjunction with the producer. The conservation plan identifies the conservation practice or practices needed to address resource concerns identified on the farm. EQIP-funded practices must follow NRCS standards and specifications.
For someone who has never applied for a USDA program, the conservation application process may seem confusing. The information provided below and on the website provides a roadmap for those new to federal conservation programs. To get started, visit our Applying for Conservation Programs page. Then visit ourEQIP Signup and Application Information pagefor application forms, documents and additional application information
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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.
Apply for our Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) before December 20, 2013 to be considered for FY2014 funding.
The EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative identifies ways to conserve energy on the farm through an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP), conservation activity plan (CAP) or on-farm energy audit, and helps producers implement energy audit recommendations by applying NRCS conservation practices to improve energy efficiency.
The EQIP Organic Initiative helps certified organic producers and producers who are transitioning to organic to install conservation practices on organic agricultural operations. Resource concerns to be addressed include: Soil condition, Soil erosion, Water quality (nutrients, organics, sediment, pathogens and temperature), Water quantity, Domestic animals (inadequate feed, forage, water & shelter), Plant condition, and Fish & wildlife (inadequate cover/shelter, threatened & endangered species).
The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative helps producers extend their growing season for high value crops in an environmentally-safe manner. The initiative can help producers address a resource concern (sheet & rill erosion; soil organic matter depletion; harmful nutrients, organics & pesticides in surface waters; poor plant condition) by improving plant quality, improving soil quality, and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport.
NRCS will help producers reduce nonpoint source pollutants (nutrients, sediment, or pesticides) in impaired watersheds, reducing groundwater contamination, and conserving ground and surface water resources. (Comprehensive Nutrient Management and Integrated Pest Management Plans).
The Water Quality Initiative is a focused approach to help landowners in priority watersheds to apply selected conservation practices to reduce the flow of sediment, nutrients and other pollutants in runoff into impaired waterways. The priority watershed in the Caribbean Area for FY 2012 and 2013 is the Añasco River Watershed.
The South Aquifer Watershed Project in Juana Diaz and Santa Isabel, PR, was initiated in 2005 to address a critical decline of the water table and salt water intrusion into the aquifer. The project aims to protect, preserve and improve the quality and quantity of agricultural resources in the watershed.
Caribbean Area Resource Concerns
Protecting and conserving soils to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation.
Improving air quality by reducing odors, greenhouse gases (methane and carbon dioxide) from AFOs/CAFOs, and chemical drift; planting trees for carbon sequestration.
Reducing energy consumption and improving energy use efficiency.
Promoting habitat recovery and protecting threatened/endangered species.
Improving water retention, water use efficiency and conserving water resources.
Reducing surface & ground water quality impairment from pathogens, pesticides, excessive nutrients & organics, salinity and sediment.
Any farmer engaged in livestock or crop production on eligible land (croplands, pasture and hayland, rangeland, private non-industrial forestland) may apply for EQIP. To be considered an "Agricultural Producer," you must normally produce and sell a minimum of $1,000 or more of agricultural products. (Proof to be provided by IRS Schedule F showing profit or loss from farm operations.)
The maximum total payment an individual or entity may receive, directly of indirectly, is limited to $450,000 for all EQIP contracts during the term of the Farm Bill. Highest priority will be given to applications that provide the most environmental benefit.