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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was reauthorized in the Agricultural Act of 2014.  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 wildlife habitat.   

The following national priorities, consistent with statutory resources concerns that include soil, water, wildlife, air quality, and related natural resource concerns, may be used in EQIP implementation:

  • Reductions of nonpoint source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with total maximum daily loads (TMDL) where available; the reduction of surface and groundwater contamination; and the reduction of contamination from agricultural sources, such as animal feeding operations
  • Conservation of ground and surface water resources
  • Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
  • Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land
  • Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat
  • Energy conservation to help save fuel, improve efficiency of water use, maintain production, and protect soil and water resources by more efficiently using fertilizers and pesticides and
  • Biological carbon storage and sequestration

In addition, Missouri has identified the following priorities:

  • Increase water quality through reducing sediment and nutrients entering Missouri waters through landscape best management practices and improved animal feeding operations
  • Improve health and productivity of Missouri soils
  • Promote sustainable and healthy grazing management on Missouri farms and ranches
  • Add habitat and diversity for Missouri’s diverse population of wildlife
  • Provide management improvements and activities on Missouri’s privately-held forestlands

Eligible program participants receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns on their land.  Payments are made to participants after planned conservation practices are implemented according to NRCS conservation practice standards and specifications.   Contract lengths will vary, but ten years is the maximum contract length.    

Missouri’s EQIP is developed using locally led conservation through Local/County Work Groups, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the Missouri State Technical Committee. National priorities and national measures are also an important consideration in the EQIP development and ranking of applications.

Eligibility Criteria

Agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland and Tribes are eligible to apply for EQIP.  Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands.

Socially disadvantaged, beginning farmers, limited resource farmers and veteran farmers are eligible for an increased payment rate and may receive advance payment of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract.  More information is available here

Applicants must:

  • Control or own eligible land
  • Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions
  • Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements
  • Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations (conservation plan)

Additional restriction and program requirements may apply.

How to Apply for EQIP

Interested parties may apply for EQIP at their local NRCS office located in the USDA Service Center. Your local USDA Service Center agencies are also listed in the telephone book under United States Government, Department of Agriculture.

EQIP applications are accepted year round; however, NRCS establishes application "cut-off" dates for evaluation and ranking of eligible applications. NRCS personnel will assist each applicant to complete their application in each applicable fund pool.

To begin the application process for EQIP, applicants must submit a recently-signed NRCS-CPA 1200 Conservation  Program Application.

EQIP Participant Responsibilities

As part of the application process, the Participant must…

  • complete and file Form AD-1026 Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification or any successor form with Farm Service Agency (FSA).
  • meet the requirements of, complete and file Form CCC-941 (Average Adjusted Gross Income AGI) Certification and Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information) or any successor form with Farm Service Agency (FSA).  Conservation program benefits are limited to individuals or entities with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $900,000 per year or less. The limit is based on the 3 tax years immediately preceding the year of the original contract obligation.
  • complete and file FORM CCC-901 Member’s Information, or its equivalent, if the Participant represents a business classified as a legal entity or joint operation by the USDA with Farm Service Agency (FSA).

As part of contract implementation, the Participant must…

  • have control of the land for the duration of the Contract.
  • obtain the authorities, permits, easements, or other approvals necessary for the implementation, operation, and maintenance of the conservation practices and activities.
  • not start any financially assisted practice or activity or engage the reimbursable services of a certified Technical Service Provide (TSP) before a contract is executed, unless a waiver is approved by NRCS.
  • start a financially assisted practice or activity within the first 12 months from the date of the start of a contract unless a waiver is requested.
  • establish, to NRCS Standards and Specifications, conservation practices or activities described in the contract as schedules, to operate and maintain the practices for the intended purpose and life span, and to comply with the terms and conditions of the contract. 

Refer to additional program responsibilities in the Appendix included as part of the NRCS-CPA 1200 Conservation Program Application.  

Conservation Activity Plans (CAP)

NRCS also provides financial assistance opportunities to participants for conservation planning services through a Technical Service Provider (TSP) to develop Conservation Activity Plans (CAP). A 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. More detailed information on Conservation Activity Plans is available on the National Conservation Activity Plan website.

Missouri EQIP Programs

Program Description Application Cutoff Date Additional Documents

Seasonal High Tunnel initiative

The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to install Seasonal High Tunnels and associated conservation measures to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner.

December 19, 2014

FY15 Missouri EQIP Seasonal High Tunnel Program Policy

FY15 Seasonal High Tunnel Ranking Questions

General EQIP

Owners of land in agricultural or forest production, or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land that have a natural resource concern on the land may participate in EQIP.  Additionally, owners of private agricultural land or non-industrial private forestland that are interested in developing or improving wildlife may participate in EQIP.

December 19, 2014


FY15 Missouri EQIP Program Policy

Ranking Categories and Questions

On-Farm Energy Initiative

The EQIP On-Farm Energy Initiative assists producers by identifying ways to conserve energy on the farm through an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP), also known as an on-farm energy audit; and by providing financial and technical assistance to help the producer implement recommendations and conservation practices identified in the audit plan.

December 19, 2014

FY15 Missouri On-Farm Energy Initiative Program Policy

FY15 On-Farm Energy Ranking Questions

FY15 On-Farm Energy CAP Ranking Questions

Organic Initiative

The EQIP Organic Initiative provides assistance to eligible applicants to install conservation practices on agricultural operations related to organic production such as certified organic producers, producers transitioning to organic production, and certification exempt producers according to the USDA-National Organic Program.

December 19, 2014

FY15 Missouri Organic Initiative Program Policy

FY15 Producer Self Certification Form

FY15 Organic Certified Ranking Questions 

FY15 Organic Transition Ranking Questions 

National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)

The National Water Quality Initiative is a focused approach to assist landowners in priority watersheds to apply selected conservation practices to reduce the flow of sediment, nutrients and other runoff into impaired waterways.

February 20, 2015

Priority Watershed Map

Opossum Creek-North Fork Spring River in Jasper and Barton Counties

Lower Little Medicine Creek in Grundy and Sullivan Counties

Upper Troublesome Creek in Knox and Lewis Counties

FY15 Missouri NWQI Program Policy

FY15 Missouri NWQI Lower Little Medicine Creek Ranking Questions 

FY15 Missouri NWQI Opossum Creek Ranking Questions 

FY15 Missouri NWQI Upper Troublesome Creek Ranking Questions 

Edge of Field Water Quality Monitoring

The Edge of Field Water Quality Monitoring project is an effort to help farmers improve and/or verify the effectiveness of agricultural conservation practices and systems on their farm fields. As part of the project, monitoring equipment will be installed to evaluate the quality of water draining from a farm field. Funding is provided for both monitoring system installation and also collecting and evaluating the data. Farmers will work with a monitoring professional (private or public) as well as NRCS on this project.

To be Announced

Focus watersheds and map

FY15 Missouri Edge of Field Program Policy (Coming Soon)

Conservation Activity 201-Edge of Field Water Quality Monitoring and Evaluation Data Collection and Evaluation

Conservation Activity 22-Edge of Field Water Quality Monitoring and Evaluation Equipment Installation

Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) – Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI)

Missouri is one of 13 states included in the Mississippi River Basin Initiative which builds on the cooperative work of NRCS and its conservation partners to help producers in previously selected watersheds voluntarily implement conservation practices that avoid, control and trap runoff while maintaining agricultural productivity and improving wildlife habitat.

December 19, 2014

FY15 CCPI-MRBI Program Policies in for all projects in Missouri

Ranking Questions by Fund Pool

Crop, Forest, Pasture/Hay, Wildlife Land Use Applications
Applications in each of these separate area-wide Land Uses will be evaluated for funding with other eligible applications in that same Land Use in that same Area. The national concerns have been developed by national staff, the state concerns were developed based on input from the State Technical Committee, conservation partners and NRCS technical and program staffs. The local concerns are based on area-wide compilations from each county’s Local Work Group in that specific area. Applicants who provide a written request, and qualify, for funds targeted to Beginning Farmer/Rancher (BF) and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher (SDF) will compete on a statewide basis with similar (BF or SDF) applicants under the applicable Land Use.

Ranking Questions by Fund Pool 2014 Missouri NRCS MapClick to enlarge map and view designated areas

Cropland Area 1

Cropland Area 2

Cropland Area 3

Cropland Area 4

Cropland Beginning Farmer

Cropland Socially Disadvantaged Farmer


Forestland Area 1

Forestland Area 2

Forestland Area 3

Forestland Area 4

Forestland Beginning Farmer

Forestland Socially Disadvantaged Farmer

Forestland Conservation Activity Plan (CAP)


Pasture/Hayland Area 1

Pasture/Hayland Area 2

Pasture/Hayland Area 3

Pasture/Hayland Area 4

Pasture/Hayland Beginning Farmer

Pasture/Hayland Socially Disadvantaged Farmer


Wildlife Area 1

Wildlife Area 2

Wildlife Area 3

Wildlife Area 4

Wildlife Beginning Farmer

Wildlife Socially Disadvantaged Farmer

Animal Feeding/Waste Operations Applications
Eligible applicants requesting EQIP financial assistance for practices associated with animal feeding/waste facilities must have a current Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) that references the installation (need) of the animal feeding/waste practices on the acres requesting assistance, prior to NRCS providing technical or financial assistance (payments). An applicant may request EQIP financial assistance to use an approved independent third-party provider for development of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan for all waste-generating animals and waste management operations under their control. Information about third-party technical assistance is available at USDA TechReg. Eligible EQIP Animal Feeding/Waste (AF/W) applications will compete for funds on a statewide basis. Applicants who provide a written request, and qualify, for Animal Feeding/Waste funds targeted to Beginning Farmer/Rancher (BF) and Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher (SDF) will compete on a statewide basis with other BF Animal Feeding/Waste applications or SDF Animal Feeding/Waste applications.

Animal Feeding/Waste Ranking Questions by Fund Pool
Animal Feeding/Waste Beginning Farmer Ranking Questions
Animal Feeding/Waste Socially Disadvantaged Ranking Questions
Animal Feeding/Waste Ranking Questions
Animal Feeding/Waste Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) Ranking Questions



  Missouri EQIP Contact Information

Curt McDaniel, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
USDA NRCS State Office
Parkade Center, Suite 250
601 Business Loop, 70 West
Columbia, MO 65203
Phone: 573-876-9363

Lauren A. Cartwright
USDA NRCS State Office, EQIP Program Coordinator
Parkade Center, Suite 250
601 Business Loop, 70 West
Columbia, MO 65203
Phone: 573-876-9415

National EQIP Information