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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

EQIP General Program Description

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. It supports production agriculture and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, farmers, ranchers, private forest land owners and Federally-recognized American Indian tribes may receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and land management conservation practices on eligible agricultural land.

Eligible producers are individuals engaged in livestock, crop or forest production. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, and private non-industrial forestland. State priorities are developed annually from input from local workgroups based on county resource assessments and individual plans to address those local needs. A State Technical Committee comprised of representation from these local work groups, Tribal groups, commodity groups, and conservation partners advise NRCS on the implementation of EQIP.

EQIP activities are carried out according to a site specific conservation plan developed in conjunction with the producer. All conservation practices are installed according to NRCS technical standards. Producers may elect to use an approved technical service provider for technical assistance.

EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term of one year after the implementation of the last scheduled practice and a maximum term of ten years. Total cost share and incentive payments are limited to $300,000 per individual over a six-year period, regardless of the number of farms or contracts. Eligibility for EQIP is subject to the Adjusted Gross Income provision of the 2008 Farm Bill and highly erodible land and wetland conversion provisions.

Interim Final Rule for EQIP
Environmental Quality Incentives Program "At a glance"

EQIP Initiatives

Honeybee Initiative
On-Farm Energy Initiative
National Water Quality Initiative
Organic Initiative

Conservation Activity Plans - National Conservation Activity Plan Web page

2014 EQIP General Program Description Documents

How EQIP Works in Michigan
EQIP Funding Pools Map
EQIP Funding Pools Text Version
How to Apply for EQIP Forest Management Plans
How to Apply for EQIP Forest Management Plans (Spanish)
Frequently Asked Questions about the Seasonal High Tunnel Practice
Frequently Asked Questions about Assistance for Organic Producers
Eligible Practices and Payment Schedules
Animal Waste
Conservation Activity Plans
Energy
Locally-Led Conservation: MAEAP
National Water Quality Initiative
Organic Initiative
American Indian Tribes
Water Quality Monitoring
Wayne County Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative
*Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers - NRCS definition

Forms
Conservation Program Application (NRCS-CPA-1200)

On-Farm Energy Initiative

A portion of NRCS-Michigan 2013 EQIP funds are designated for On-Farm-Energy activities. Producers can receive financial assistance to have an energy audit conducted on their farm by an authorized entity. Producers who have a completed energy audit can receive financial assistance for implementing designated conservation practices. Practices eligible for On-Farm Energy Initiative funds are identified on the EQIP practices list. Applications for On-Farm Energy Initiative funds must be submitted by March 21, 2014 to be included in the initial selection for Fiscal Year 2014 funds.

National Water Quality Initiative

Applications for the National Water Quality Initiative will have the same cut-off date as EQIP, March 21, 2014. NWQI funds for conservation practices that improve water quality are available to producers in designated watersheds in southwest Michigan.

National Water Quality Initiative Program Web page

Organic Initiative

Through the EQIP Organic Initiative, NRCS provides assistance to eligible producers for installation of conservation practices on organic or agricultural operations transitioning to organic production. Eligible producers include those who agree to develop and carry out an organic system plan (OSP), or develop and implement conservation practices for certified organic production that are consistent with an OSP.

The assistance through the EQIP program helps producers plan and implement conservation practices to achieve increased conservation benefits on their operations. EQIP is primarily used to provide financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices to address soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources.

A new organic provision targets organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production:

- Assistance is for conservation practices related to organic production
- Assistance is limited to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six year period
- Producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP) or carry out practices consistent with an OSP

Organic Initiative Frequently Asked Questions
National NRCS Organic Initiative Web page

Honeybee Initiative 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide close to $4 million in technical and financial assistance for interested farmers and ranchers to help improve the health of bees, which play an important role in crop production. The funding is a focused investment to improve pollinator health and will be targeted in five Midwestern states, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Applications must be submitted by Nov. 21, 2014 to be considered for funding.

Michigan Honeybee Initiative Fact Sheet

Contact

To apply for EQIP, contact your local USDA Service Center. 
Michigan Field Office Directory

For general questions about EQIP contact the Michigan NRCS EQIP Coordinator.

Becky Otto, Acting EQIP Coordinator
Phone:  (517) 324-5257
E-mail: becky.otto@mi.usda.gov