NRCS accepts EQIP applications year-round but establishes cutoff dates for applications to be evaluated and ranked for current year funding.
Fiscal Year 2024 EQIP application ranking deadlines: Starting December 8, 2023, eligible and ranked applications will be evaluated for funding every second and fourth Friday of the month with the last funding evaluation on June 21, 2024.
Fiscal Year 2024 EQIP application deadline*: Application received by close of business on April 19, 2024, and are eligible and ranked by June 21, 2024, will be considered for funding. All applications must be obligated by August 23, 2024.
*Applications for the Organic Transition Initiative must be submitted by close of business on February 29, 2024.
About EQIP: The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is our most commonly-used program in Alaska. EQIP provides agricultural producers with financial assistance and conservation planning services to help private landowners implement improvements on their land using what NRCS calls "conservation practices." Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations. Through EQIP, you can voluntarily implement conservation practices, and NRCS co-invests in these practices with you.
To get started, NRCS first works one-on-one with you to develop a conservation plan that meets your goals and vision for the land. This becomes a roadmap for which conservation practices best meet your needs. Financial assistance covers part of the costs from implementing conservation practices. These practices are geared towards working farms, ranches and forests and provide producers with many options for conservation.
EQIP Fact Sheet
AK How EQIP Works Booklet (3.25 MB)
EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers. All applications must meet the criteria for both producer eligibility and land eligibility to be considered for funding.
To be eligible to participate in EQIP:
1. An applicant must:
- be considered an agricultural producer,
- maintain control of the land for the life of the contract,
- be in compliance with federal highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions, and
- be within appropriate payment limitation requirements and adjusted gross income requirements.
2. The land being offered into the program must be agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land or other land on which agricultural products, livestock or forest-related products are produced.
How to Apply
Have a resource concern you are ready to address or a management system you want to try? We are ready to help.
The local NRCS conservation planner will have a one-on-one consultation with you to evaluate the current condition of the natural resource conditions or concerns on your land. An NRCS conservation planner will present you with a variety of conservation practices or systems to address your concerns or management goals while improving and protecting the natural resource condition of your land. Together you and the NRCS conservation planner will develop a Conservation Plan - a tool designed to help you better manage the nature resources on your farm.
A conservation plan includes an aerial photo of your fields, a list of your management decisions, the location and schedule for applying new conservation practices, a soil map (where available), implementation sheets explaining how to carry out your specific management decisions, and a plan for operation and maintenance of practices.
Applications must at a minimum must address one resource concern and are accepted throughout the year. Specific deadlines are set for ranking and funding opportunities within each state.
A conservation plan must be completed before an application can be evaluated and ranked for funding.
Applications will be accepted for all eligible lands and persons. Eligible land includes:
- Cropland and Hayland
- Non-industrial private forestland
- Other farm or ranch lands
- Environmentally sensitive areas
Eligible person(s) include:
- Agricultural producers
- Owners of non-industrial private forestland
- Indian Tribes
- Those with an interest in the agricultural or forestry operations
Additionally, farm records must be established or updated with the Farm Service Agency for both the person(s) and the land for your application to be eligible and evaluated. Farm records for the person must indicate the applicant:
- Controls or owns eligible land;
- Meets adjusted gross income (AGI) and payment limitation provisions;
- Is in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements
- If you are an Historically Underserved Farmer or Rancher, you may be eligible for the advance payment option.
Alaska utilizes a screening tool to manage workload and identify projects that will provide the most environmental benefits. Applications screened low will not be ranked. The local Field Office collects information about the applicants’ agricultural operations through existing information, on-site visits, and/or personal communications and works with the applicant to develop a Conservation Plan. The information collected is used to rank all eligible applications which results in a numerical score. Applications for conservation practices and systems that will result in greater environmental benefits for national, state, and/or local natural resource priorities will receive a higher score and higher priority to receive an offer for a financial assistance contract.
If your application is funded, NRCS will offer you an EQIP contract to receive financial assistance for the cost of implementing practices. An EQIP contract is a legally binding agreement and the participants’ responsibilities are considerable. The best place to learn about these responsibilities is to thoroughly review the NRCS-CPS-1200 Application with Appendix which set forth the terms and conditions of the contract.
Practices & Payment Schedule
Alaska EQIP Fund Pools and Practices FY24.pdf (271.16 KB)
EQIP FY24 Ranking Questions (425.7 KB)
Alaska FY24 EQIP Guidelines.pdf (187 KB)
- Payment schedules for conservation practices are reviewed and set each fiscal year. View Payment Schedule
Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers, Military Veteran Farmers
The 2018 Farm Bill continues to address unique circumstances and concerns of Historically Underserved producers: socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers and Veteran Farmers. It provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing USDA programs and services.
Alaska strives to insure that historically underserved producers are well informed about EQIP and have every opportunity to participate. Historically underserved clients may receive a higher payment rate or may be eligible for the advance payment option. Limited resource or beginning farmer or rancher participants may be required to provide certain tax documents to verify eligibility.
Alaska Funding Priorities
Alaska NRCS with the guidance of the State Technical Committee has established the following funding priorities for FY2024:
- General - All resource concerns on all land uses.
- Urban - Applications with land units that have an "urban" modifier
- Forestry - Applications for resource concerns on forestland
- Wildlife - Applications for wildlife habitat resource concerns on all land uses
- On-Farm Energy - Applications that address energy conservation through practice implementation and for development of an agricultural energy management plan (AgEMP).
- Beginning Farmer - Applicants that self-certify as beginning farmer on the NRCS-CPA-1200 application
- Socially Disadvantaged - Applicants that self-certify as socially disadvantaged on the NRCS-CPA-1200 application
- Organic - Applicants that are organic, transition to organic and organic-exempt producers.
- Working Lands for Wildlife - Applications that meet the WLFW requirements.
In addition, the following initiatives have been made available for FY24
- IRA - Inflation Reduction Act funding directed at Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Mitigation
- Organic Transition Initiative - for farmers who are transitioning their operation to become certified organic. Deadline for applications is COB February 29, 2024.
- ACT NOW allows NRCS to approve and obligate a ranked application in a designated ranking pool when an application meets or exceeds the minimum ranking score (100 points) without waiting until the NRCS field office ranks all applications in the ranking pool. Application to ranking timeframe is 45 days.
- CPA, DIA, CEMA - Conservation Planning Activities (CPAs), Design and Implementation Activities (DIAs), and Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMAs).
- High Tunnel - Conservation Practice High Tunnel Structure is used to address plant productivity resource concerns on cropland.
National and State Priorities
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
- Increasing fresh water fish habitat and populations.
- Protection and enhancement of traditionally and culturally used resources
- Forestland health and wildfire hazard reduction
- Soil health
State EQIP Contact
Ready to get started?
Contact your local service center to start your application.
How to Get Assistance
Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?
Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.
NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.
We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:
- To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
- To meet other eligibility certifications.
Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.
Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.
As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:
- An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
- A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
- A farm number.
If you don’t have a farm number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm number if you’re interested in financial assistance.
NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants. View Application Ranking Dates by State.
If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.
Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.