Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Current Documents and Information Page for Virginia's EQIP
General Program Description
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air, energy conservation, and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations.
Virginia's EQIP addresses resource concerns important to improving and maintaining the state's water and environmental quality. EQIP is a voluntary conservation program from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. It supports production agriculture and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, farmers may receive financial and technical help with structural and management conservation practices on agricultural land and privately owned non-commercial forest land. EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers. Specifically, owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on the land may participate in EQIP.
EQIP provides financial assistance payments to eligible producers based on a portion of the average cost associated with practice implementation. Additional payments may be available to help producers develop conservation plans which are required to obtain financial assistance. 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. Applications that become conservation program contracts (CPC) are legally binding agreements that define the terms and conditions of a contract, including the responsibilities of the participants, NRCS, and technical service providers (TSPs), as well as the consequences of violating a contract. All conservation practices established through a CPC will be maintained for the established lifespan. Operation and maintenance (O&M) must be included for each practice with O&M requirements. This can be incorporated as part of the practice narrative or through a separate O&M plan, as necessary. The lifespan of a practice may extend beyond the length of the program contract. The practice lifespan is defined as the time period in which the conservation practices are to be used and maintained for their intended purposes, as defined by NRCS technical references. Practices started or completed before CPC approval are not eligible for payments, in accordance with the applicable program regulation and the CPC appendix. Starting a practice or engaging the services of a technical service provider before the contract is approved by NRCS renders an applicant ineligible for payment unless a waiver has been granted by the STC. Requests for a waiver to this provision must be made in writing.
Historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, Tribes) may be eligible for a higher practice payment rate for the implementation for conservation practices and conservation plans.
Producers may use a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) for technical assistance needed for certain eligible activities, services and the development of conservation plans. Historically underserved producers may also be eligible for advance payments up to 30 percent of the cost needed to purchase materials or contracting services to begin installation of approved conservation practices.
Learn more about our current year program.
EQIP Archives: FY2012 ,FY2011, FY2010, FY2009, FY2008,
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