EQIP Conservation Activity Plan (CAP)
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, or can also address a specific resource need such a plan for management of nutrients or to address 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?
The Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) provides authority to use financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for payment for practices involving the development 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.
The Farm Bill statute allows EQIP payment 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). The agency approves the conservation activity plans and payment rates to be offered through EQIP program contract every fiscal year and each State may support only specific CAPs.
The list of nationally approved CAP practices can be downloaded from “Fiscal Year 2013 CAP Resources” below, but producers should check with NRCS where located to find out which CAPs are offered in their State. Eligible producers may apply at their local NRCS office. EQIP payments are made directly to program participants for development of a CAP. These CAP plans may only be developed by a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP). Although NRCS personnel are prohibited from developng CAPs, they can assist with the development of conservation plans to address all identified resource concerns.
How Do I Apply For A CAP?
Information about how to apply for assistance through EQIP is available online. Click on the State where the property that you are interested in enrolling in EQIP is located. This will take you to that State's Programs home page, which will link to that State's EQIP page. Each State's EQIP page includes application ranking criteria, priority resource concerns, lists of eligible practices, payment rates, information about where you can submit applications, eligibility requirements and other program requirements.
Applications for EQIP are accepted on a continuous basis, however, NRCS establishes application "cut-off" or submission deadline dates for evaluation and ranking of eligible applications. To obtain an EQIP application, visit or contact your local NRCS field office.
Technical requirements and planning criteria for each CAP are listed in each State Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) and on this page. This information includes the details of what must be included in each kind of CAP that is approved for support through EQIP. Detailed technical information should be located in “Section III” of each State FOTG and is also available for download in the NRCS Technical Guidance Bulletin below.
How Do I Find A Technical Service Provider?
Information about CAP services from Technical Service Providers, including how to find a certified TSP in your State, the requirements to become a certified Technical Service Provider, can be found on the NRCS national TSP website.
Fiscal Year 2013 CAP Resources
FY 2013 CAPs
CAP List and Descriptions for FY13
CAP 102 CNMP
CAP 104 Nutrient Management Plan Criteria
CAP 106 Forest Management Plan
CAP 106 Guide for Foresters for the Joint Management Plan Template (PDF, 164KB)
CAP 106 Guide for Landowners for the Joint Management Plan Template (PDF, 181KB)
CAP 106 Managing Your Woodlands Natl ATFS FS NRCS Joint Management Plan Template (PDF, 353KB)
CAP 106 Managing Your Woodlands Natl ATFS FS NRCS Management Plan Template
CAP 110 Grazing Management Plan
CAP 114 Conservation Plan Supporting Integrated Pest Management Plan
CAP 114 Template Conservation Plan Supporting Integrated Pest Management
CAP 118 Irrigation Water Management Plan Criteria
CAP 122 Agricultural Energy Management Plan Headquarters
CAP 124 Landscape Agriculture Energy Management Plan
CAP 124 Agriculture Energy Management Plan, Landscape Conservation Activity Plan Template
CAP 126 Comprehensive Air Quality Management Plan
CAP 130 Drainage Water Management Plan Criteria
CAP 134 Conservation Plan Supporting Transition from Irrigation to Dryland Farming
CAP 134 Template Transition from Irrigated to Dryland Farming
CAP 138 Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Tranisition Plan
CAP 138 Template Organic Cropland
CAP 138 Template Organic Grazing
CAP 142 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management Plan
CAP 146 Pollinator Habitat Enhancement Plan
CAP 150 SPCC Criteria
CAP 154 IPM Herbicide Resistance Weed Conservation Plan
CAP 154 Template Conservation Plan Support IPM Herbicide Resistance Weed
Conservation Activity Plans Approved for Use During Fiscal Year 2013 (PDF, 49KB)
NRCS Program and Policy CAP Guidance Bulletin (PDF, 56KB)
NRCS Technical CAP Guidance Bulletin - Planning Requirements (PDF, 1MB)
CAP Payment Rates for FY 2013 (PDF, 200KB)