NRCS offers voluntary programs to eligible landowners and agricultural producers to provide financial and technical assistance to help manage natural resources in a sustainable manner. Through these programs the agency approves contracts to provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns or opportunities to help save energy, improve soil, water, plant, air, animal and related resources on agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land.
All financial assistance programs have a continuous application sign-up.
NRCS periodically announces application cut-offs when applications are ranked for funding.
NRCS encourages customers to apply at any time.
Contact your local Service Center or NRCS Office
Financial Assistance Programs
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance—the higher the performance, the higher the payment.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat.
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals.
Former Financial Assistance Programs
The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) was a voluntary conservation initiative that provided financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land to conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality.
The Cooperative Conservation Planning Initiative (CCPI) was a voluntary conservation initiative that enables the use of certain conservation programs along with resource of eligible partners to provide financial and technical assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest lands.
The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) was a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, and Indian land. It has been folded into EQIP.
Electronic (eGov) Information
The USDA Service Center Agencies (Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and Rural Development) provide several services online, and are adding more soon. Instead of driving to a service center, individual registered customers will be able to conduct business online in a secure and protected environment. eAuthentication Self-Registration is where it all starts to request an online user account.
Local Work Groups
Local work groups (LWG) support the locally led conservation effort by coordinating USDA programs with other federal, state, tribal, and local conservation programs to provide an integrated solution to addressing natural resource concerns.
State Technical Advisory Committee
The State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) provides recommendations to the NRCS State Conservationist on NRCS-related issues in California. These issues include: implementation of NRCS programs, advice and comments on NRCS practice standards, and others.
Technical Service Providers
Technical Service Providers (TSP) are conservation professionals from the private sector, non-profit organizations, and public agencies that can provide direct technical assistance and deliver conservation services to landowners and others on behalf of USDA.
Programs Manuals are available on the NRCS eDirectives website.
Electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG)
The Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) is the primary scientific reference used by NRCS in conservation activities. This guide is now available on-line as the electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG).
Alan Forkey, Program Manager