Environmental Quality Incentives Program Overview
The 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 offers contracts for practice implementation from 1-10 years.
EQIP in Wisconsin 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. EQIP offers many practices geared to livestock operations of all types.
Any producer engaged in livestock or crop production on eligible land, or owner of eligible production land, may apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland; rangeland; pasture; private non-industrial forestland; and other farm or ranch lands, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
How EQIP Works
Signup and details about eligible practices and payment rates are announced each year. NRCS will evaluate each application, with higher priorities given to applications that use cost-effective conservation practices, address local priorities, and provide the most environmental benefit.
Farmers will develop a conservation plan, if they don’t already have one, for the acreage affected by the EQIP practices. Conservation practices must meet NRCS technical standards. Farmers may elect to use an approved third-party provider for technical assistance, if available.
What Are My Chances of Being Funded?
EQIP is a competitive program. Since program inception in 1997, demand for EQIP financial assistance has exceeded the funds available. In recent years, NRCS in Wisconsin has been able to fund about 60 percent of the applicants. We estimate approximately two of every five applicants in the statewide signups will be successful in securing an EQIP contract this year. Since the signups for most practices are handled on a county basis, individual county results may vary from this statewide average. Final results for this year's sign up will depend on the number of applications and the level of funding received.
Those applicants who are interested in waste storage should be aware that historically only one in five applications have been successful in Wisconsin.
Decision Making Process for EQIP
Input from Outside Groups, Agencies, and Citizens: The list of eligible practices in Wisconsin, cost share rates and limits, eligible resource concerns, and scoring criteria for waste storage were developed based on input and recommendations from the Wisconsin State Technical Committee (WSTC). The WSTC is made up of representatives from various agribusinesses, producer groups, conservation organizations, and federal, state, and tribal government agency representatives.
The county sign-up process and county scoring criteria, were based on input from the Local Work Groups (LWG). The LWG is made up of county officials. Landowners may provide advice and information to the LWG as part of the locally led process.
The priorities set at the state and county level are those that the WSTC 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.