NRCS's natural resources conservation programs help people reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages caused by floods and other natural disasters.
Public benefits include enhanced natural resources that help sustain agricultural productivity and environmental quality while supporting continued economic development, recreation, and scenic beauty.
NRCS provides funding opportunities for agricultural producers and other landowners through these programs. Participation in our conservation programs is voluntary. NRCS accepts requests for technical assistance and applications for financial assistance throughout the year. Review the following information or visit your local NRCS service center to help determine which programs are right for you.
The Agriculture Management Assistance (AMA) program offers conservation payments to targeted beginning and limited resource farmers, small farms, and producers who have had limited participation in other USDA financial assistance programs.
The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) offers conservation payments to agricultural producers within the Raritan basin watersheds of Mulhockaway Creek, Spruce Run, Neshanic River, and South Branch/Long Valley for implementing practices that address important water quantity and quality issues.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) offers conservation practices for agricultural producers with existing resource concerns to install permanent measures, adopt new management strategies, or develop activity plans for a wide range of resource concerns. Several targeted initiatives exist within the EQIP program.
The Organic Initiative targets producers who are certified organic or interested in transition to organic production to install conservation practices that support organic production.
The Energy Initiative targets agricultural producers who are interested in adopting energy efficient management practices or installing permanent measures to reduce energy consumption.
The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative assists producers who are interested in management a seasonal high tunnel system to extend the growing system in an environmentally safe manner.
The National Water Quality initiative (NWQI) offers conservation payments for agricultural producers within the Upper Cohansey River, Upper Salem River, and Upper Alloway Creek watersheds to implement practices that address water quantity and quality issues.
The Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program offers grants up to $75,000 to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies on agricultural lands. Individuals, state and local units of government, producer associations, farmer cooperatives, institutions of higher education, and nongovernmental organizations all may be eligible to receive grant funds.
The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) offers conservation payments for owners or managers of agricultural lands who are interested in enhancing wildlife opportunities that support targeted wildlife populations of National, State, and local significance.
The Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) Program in New Jersey assists agricultural producers and forest landowners in implementing conservation practices that restore and protect priority habitat areas for the Golden Winged Warbler and the Bog Turtle. Voluntary participation in the Working Lands for Wildlife may provide participants with regulatory certainty regarding these species.
The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program provides assistance to undertake emergency measures, including the purchase of flood plain easements, for runoff retardation and soil erosion prevention to safeguard lives and property from floods, drought, and the products of erosion on any watershed whenever fire, flood or any other natural occurrence is causing or has caused sudden impairment of the watershed.