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Connecticut Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

EQIP

Although NRCS accepts applications year-round, to be eligible for the first sign-up period for FY2023 funding, be sure to submit yours to your local NRCS office by October 31, 2022.

EQIP provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers and forest landowners to address natural resource concerns, such as:

  • Improved water and air quality;
  • Conserved ground and surface water;
  • Increased soil health ;
  • Reduced soil erosion and sedimentation;
  • Improved or created wildlife habitat; and
  • Mitigation against drought and increasing weather volatility.

How It Works

NRCS works one-on-one with producers to develop a conservation plan that outlines conservation practices and activities to help solve on-farm resource issues. Producers implement practices and activities in their conservation plan that can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving their agricultural operations. EQIP helps producers make conservation work for them. Financial assistance for practices may be available through EQIP.  Some producers may also qualify for advance payment.

Benefits

Some of these benefits include:

  • Reduced contamination from agricultural sources, such as animal feeding operations.
  • Efficient use of nutrients, reducing input costs and reduction in nonpoint source pollution.
  • Improved soil health, which mitigates against increasing weather volatility, improves drought resiliency and can positively affect climate change.
  • Implementation of climate-smart practices that improve carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while building resilient landscapes.

Conservation at Work Videos

Watch how farmers and ranchers across the country are implementing EQIP practices and other conservation activities in our Conservation at Work video series. For example, see how producers are using the nutrient management conservation practice to improve water quality by more effectively using nutrients.

EQIP Initiatives

Targeted EQIP financial assistance is available through several conservation initiatives. See which initiative is available in your state.

EQIP offers grant opportunities through Conservation Innovation Grants, which awards competitive grants that stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural lands.

Technical Assistance

NRCS offers technical assistance at no cost. Producers can use our personalized advice and information, based on the latest science and research, to make informed decisions about their land.

Technical Service Providers (TSP) can help producers plan, design and implement conservation practices or develop conservation activity plans to improve their agricultural operations. For more information on the Technical Service Provider program, visit the TSP page.

Technical assistance is also offered through our Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) program.

Need a local Technical Service Provider? Visit the locate a TSP page.

How To Get Started

The first step is to contact your local NRCS office. An NRCS conservation planner will schedule a visit to your property. They will walk the land with you to discuss your goals and review any resource concerns. Following the site visit, the conservation planner will develop a conservation plan that includes a variety of conservation practices or activities to address the resource concerns and management goals discussed.

Applications for NRCS conservation programs are accepted on a continuous basis; however, customers should apply by state-specific ranking dates to be considered for the current funding cycle.

  • Find application ranking dates for your state.
  • See payment schedules for your state.
  • See application.

To learn more about EQIP, contact your local NRCS office.

Fact Sheets

EQIP Data, 2009 - Present

NRCS program data are housed on the Resource Conservation Assessment Data Viewer. EQIP data for FY2009 to the present are available on the EQIP data page. Fiscal year 2014 - 2021 financial assistance data related to EQIP and other NRCS programs are available on farmers.gov.

Connecticut Program Details

NRCS accepts applications for EQIP year-round.

National and State Priorities

Connecticut has identified the following priorities consistent with statutory resource concerns that include soil, water, wildlife, air quality, and related natural resource concerns, and may be used in EQIP implementation:

  • Water Quality
  • Soil Health
  • Soil Erosion
  • Forestry
  • Livestock Production Limitations

Accepting Applications

EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, NRCS establishes application cut-off or submission deadline dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers. The following describes how to apply for Farm Bill programs or visit Get Started with NRCS.

Eligibility

EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers. To be considered for funding, all applications must meet the criteria for both producer eligibility and land eligibility.

  • Applicants must:  

                   - be considered an agricultural producer

                   - have control of the land for the life of the contract

                   - be in compliance with federal highly erodible land and wetland conservation
                     provisions

                   - be within appropriate payment limitation requirements and adjusted gross
                     income requirements

  • The land being offered into the program must be agricultural land, non-industrial private forest land, or other land on which agricultural products, livestock, or forest-related products are produced.

  • Applications for financial assistance must also be supported by a current conservation plan or a complete farm assessment which documents land and practice eligibility.

  • Applicants should contact their NRCS Service Center to make an appointment for conservation planning assistance.

  • Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply. 

Participant Responsibilities

Applicants are responsible for completing and filing all application and eligibility paperwork as required. If funded, participants are required to sign a contract and agree to implement the planned conservation practices to NRCS standards and specifications as scheduled.

 

Decision Making Process for EQIP

Input from outside groups, agencies, and citizens: The list of eligible practices in Connecticut, payment rates and limits, eligible resource concerns, and state scoring criteria are developed based on input and recommendations from the State Technical Committee (STC). The STC is made up of representatives from various agri-businesses, producer groups, conservation organizations, and federal, state, and tribal government agency representatives.

EQIP Deadlines

To apply for EQIP, contact your local service center or visit Get Started with NRCS. Do you farm and want to make improvements to the land you own or lease? NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, forest landowners, and operators of leased land.

EQIP Organic Initiative

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STARTING A PRACTICE PRIOR TO WRITTEN CONTRACT APPROVAL WILL RESULT IN THE INELIGIBILITY OF THE PRACTICE FOR EQIP ASSISTANCE, UNLESS A WAIVER HAS BEEN APPROVED.

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EQIP Payment Rates

All Connecticut  program payment rates and practice scenario descriptions are available on the National USDA NRCS Payment Schedule website

Connecticut Sub-Accounts, Batching Dates, and Ranking Documents

Connecticut NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis. Periodically, the state conservationist will announce a batching date and ranking period. All applications that are in an Eligible status on the advertised batching date will be evaluated and considered for funding in that ranking period.

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CONNECTICUT SUB-ACCOUNTS

Connecticut Sub-Account:
BEGNNING FARMER AND RANCHER 

This sub-account is for applicants applying as Beginning Farmers. These are landowners who have been engaged in farming for no more than 10 years. For forestry practices, the applicant must have owned the land for no more than 10 years. Eligible conservation practices for this sub-account include all practices offered for EQIP. Applicants in this sub-account are eligible for higher practice payment rates.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 Beginning Farmer/Rancher Ranking Tool

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Connecticut Sub-Account:
SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED PRODUCER

This sub-account is for applicants who certify as Socially Disadvantaged according to information provided under the National Guidance for Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers, Veteran Farmers. Eligible conservation practices for this sub-account include all practices offered for EQIP. Applicants in this sub-account are eligible for higher practice payment rates.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 Socially Disadvantaged Producer Ranking Tool

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Connecticut Sub-Account:
LIMITED RESOURCE PRODUCER

This sub-account is for applicants who certify as Limited Resource according to information provided under the National Guidance for Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers, Veteran Farmers. Eligible conservation practices for this sub-account include all practices offered for EQIP. Applicants in this sub-account are eligible for higher practice payment rates.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 Limited Resource Producer Ranking Tool

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Connecticut Sub-Account:
FORESTRY

This sub-account is for applicants enrolling to implement forest management practices based on a certified forest management or stewardship plan. NRCS aims to promote sustainable forest management and harvesting techniques. Participants may choose a registered NRCS Technical Service Provider of their choice to write the plan. Timber Stand Improvement, Forest Trails and Landings, and Brush Management are some of the practices that can be scheduled if recommended in a Forest Management Plan.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 Forestry Ranking Tool

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Connecticut Sub-Account:
PASTURE

This sub-account is for applicants who wish to implement a Grazing Management Plan, or whose operations are predominantly used for livestock production. This would include dairy farms and operations that raise beef, sheep, goats, alpacas, or other livestock. Conservation practices that can be included in these conservation plans include fencing for rotational grazing, watering facilities, pasture and hayland planting, heavy use areas, and brush management.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 Pasture Ranking Tool

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Connecticut Sub-Account:
ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATION (AFO) AND
CONFINED ANIMAL FEEDING OPERATION (CAFO) 

AFO's are agricultural enterprises where animals are kept and raised in confined situations where feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations all occur on a small land area. A CAFO is an AFO with more than 1,000 animal units (an animal is defined as an animal equivalent of 1,000 lbs. live weight) confined on site for more than 45 days during the year. Existing AFO/CAFO's can apply for EQIP financial assistance for the storage, treatment, and utilization of animal waste. This is a statewide process to address the water quality impacts of these operations to the rivers and streams of the state, and control soil erosion. Applicants should have a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan in order to apply for practices recommended in the plan such as Heavy Use Area Protection, Animal Mortality Facility, Waste Storage Facility, Critical Area Planting, Grassed Waterway, etc.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 AFO-CAFO Ranking Tool 

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Connecticut Sub-Account:
CROPLAND/HAYLAND

This sub-account is for landowners whose operations are predominantly crop-production. Vegetable, nursery, orchard, greenhouse, and other specialty crop production may be eligible under this sub-account. Conservation practices that may be included in these conservation plans can include erosion control practices, seasonal high tunnels, conservation irrigation, and soil health practices. A producer should have a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan if interested in applying for nutrient management practices.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 Cropland/Hayland Ranking Tool

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Connecticut Sub-Account:
WILDLIFE

This sub-account is for applicants who wish to implement practices which benefit wildlife on their farm or forest. Applicants may apply for practices which benefit wildlife either directly or indirectly. Some of the practices include Riparian Buffer, Conservation Cover, and Forested or Herbaceous Structures for Wildlife.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 Wildlife Ranking Tool

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Connecticut Sub-Account:
CONSERVATION PLANNING ACTIVITIES (CPA, DIA,CEMA)

This sub-account is for any applicant applying for a Conservation Planning Activity. These are available in Connecticut for:

  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan

  • Nutrient Management Plan

  • Forest Management Plan

  • Feed Management Plan

  • Grazing Management Plan

  • Prescribed Burning Plan

  • Pest Management Plan

  • Agricultural Energy Assessment or Design

  • Drainage Water Management Plan

  • Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition

  • Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management Plan

  • Pollinator Habitat Enhancement Plan

A completed and certified plan may be required before a participant can apply for certain practices. For example, a participant must have a certified Forest Management Plan in order to apply to NRCS for forest management practice implementation.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: FY2022 Conservation Planning Activities Ranking Tool

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Connecticut Sub-Account:
NATIONAL WATER QUALITY INITIATIVE 
(NWQI)

NRCS is offering technical and financial assistance to farmers and forest landowners interested in improving water quality and aquatic habitats in priority watersheds with impaired streams. Qualified producers may apply for financial assistance to install conservation practices in the designated watersheds to address documented phosphorus, bacteria, and sediment impairments which may be caused by soil erosion, exposed soil, and lack of riparian buffers and filter strips. Following are the designated watersheds:

  • Broad Brook

Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: FY2022 NWQI Ranking Tool - more information on the NWQI web

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INITIATIVE SUB-ACCOUNTS

Initiative Sub-Account:
WORKING LANDS FOR WILDLIFE INITIATIVE - NEW ENGLAND COTTONTAIL

NRCS, in partnership with other state and federal agencies through the Working Lands for Wildlife Strategy, is working to restore habitat for the New England Cottontail (NEC) rabbit within the species' historic range. The NEC is considered an at-risk species that has undergone major population decline due to loss of habitat. NRCS can provide financial assistance to eligible applicants for practices which restore or create habitat within the NEC's historic range. Some practices aimed at restoring habitat include Early Successional Habitat Development, Structures for Wildlife, and Tree and Shrub Establishment. The focus areas for the initiative are located on the eastern and western sides of the state including towns in Litchfield, Fairfield, New London, and Windham Counties. Participants should have a Forest Management Plan CAP if the land in application is forestland.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: TBD

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Initiative Sub-Account:
WORKING LANDS FOR WILDLIFE INITIATIVE - BOG TURTLE

The Bog Turtle is currently listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Bog Turtle depends on a habitat composed of open, sunny wetlands and dry, grassy areas. Under this initiative, NRCS can provide financial assistance to private landowners in Litchfield and Fairfield Counties who have wetlands and wish to conserve or restore bog turtle habitat. Some of the eligible core practices include Restoration and Management of Declining Habitats, Early Successional Habitat Development, and Upland Wildlife Habitat Management.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: TBD

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Initiative Sub-Account:
ON-FARM ENERGY

The Energy Initiative is designed to help producers improve energy efficiency on their agricultural operations. This initiative provides funding for individual on-farm energy audits, and results which will allow participants to save both money and energy when fully implemented.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 On-Farm Energy Ranking Tool

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Initiative Sub-Account:
CERTIFIED ORGANIC

This sub-account is for applicants who are certified organic operations. Applicants must be certified by an accredited USDA certifying agent. Conservation practices for these conservation plans will focus on practices that are used on organic farms and other practices that address resource concerns on their operation.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: 2022 Organic Ranking Tool

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Initiative Sub-Account:
TRANSITIONING TO ORGANIC

This sub-account is for applicants who are transitioning to organic production. Applicants shall self-certify that they agree to develop and work toward implementing an Organic System Plan. Conservation practices for these conservation plans will focus on practices that are used on organic farms and other practices that address resource concerns on their operation.
Next Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Documents: TBD

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SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED, BEGINNING, AND LIMITED RESOURCE FARMERS/RANCHERS, MILITARY VETERAN FARMERS

The Farm Bill continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns of 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services. Enhancements include increased payment rates and advance payments of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract.

Connecticut is committed to reaching out to Historically Underserved individuals and groups. Historically Underserved participants may also receive higher payment rates in addition to being considered in high priority funding pools. See the Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers page for the NRCS definition of the Historically Underserved.

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RCPP-EQIP SUB-ACCOUNTS

RCPP-EQIP Sub-Account:
IMPROVING SOIL HEALTH AND WATER QUALITY IN THE THAMES RIVER WATERSHED

RCPP Partner: The Last Green Valley/Eastern Connecticut Conservation District
Geographic Area: Thames River Watershed
Project Purpose: Funds are available to implement conservation practices in the field that can save farmers time, effort, and money. By improving soil health, producers can reduce erosion and runoff, reduce pest and weed problems, reduce fertilizer use and fuel consumption through fewer tractor passes, and mitigate drought with soils that hold more moisture. EQIP practices include cover crops, residue and tillage management, conservation crop rotation as well as composting facilities, and grazing practices.
Land Use(s): Crop: Farmstead; Pasture
Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Tool: TBD

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RCPP-EQIP Sub-Account:
ACHIEVING AGRICULTURAL WATER SECURITY IN CONNECTICUT THROUGH RCPP

RCPP Partner:  University of Connecticut
Geographic Area:  Statewide
Project Purpose:  This project focuses on the national priority of water quantity in the State of Connecticut. The long-term goal of the project is achieving agricultural water security for existing and new agricultural producers. We will work with producers across the state to develop science-based plans for drought preparedness. EQIP practices include water well, irrigation pipeline, micro-irrigation, and structure for water control (flow meters).
Land Use(s):  Crop
Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Tool: TBD

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RCPP-EQIP Sub-Account:
PATH TO REDUCE PATHOGENS IN CONNECTICUT AGRICULTURAL RUNOFF

RCPP Partner:  University of Connecticut
Geographic Area:  Eastern Connecticut/ Thames River Watershed
Project Purpose:  To address the degradation of soil and water from agricultural operations, the University of Connecticut will enlist partners and apply technical and financial assistance focused on reducing pathogens associated with agricultural activities. Potential conservation practices to reduce pathogens will include composting, nutrient management, residue and tillage management, cover crops, fencing, buffers and filter strips, vegetated treatment areas, and wetlands.
Land Use(s):  Crop; Farmstead; Pasture
Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Tool: Ranking Tool

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RCPP-EQIP Sub-Account:
THE YOUNG FOREST INITIATIVE FOR AT-RISK SPECIES

RCPP Partner:  Wildlife Management Institute/CT DEEP Wildlife
Geographic Area:  Statewide
Project Purpose:  This project will help increase technical and financial assistance to non-industrial private forestland owners who implement practices in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to increase the quantity and quality of young forest habitats. Young forest habitat is necessary to meet the critical needs of several recognized at-risk species. In Connecticut, the project will prioritize projects that benefit the American Woodcock and/or New England Cottontail through implementation of EQIP practices including early successional habitat management, brush management, forest trails, and lands.
Land Use(s):  Forest
Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Tool: TBD

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RCPP-EQIP Sub-Account:
ACCELERATING THE PACE OF CONSERVATION IN THE
SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND HERITAGE FOREST

RCPP Partner:  The Last Green Valley
Geographic Area:  Northeastern Connecticut
Project Purpose:  The Southern New England Heritage Forest Project will connect forest landowners with NRCS programs and services. A partnership of organizations and agencies will offer private woodland owners a suite of NRCS tools for sound management and forestry conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Land Use(s):  Forest
Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Tool: 2020 Ranking Tool

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RCPP-EQIP Sub-Account:
LONG ISLAND SOUND WATERSHED RCPP

RCPP Partner:  Connecticut Council on Soil and Water Conservation
Geographic Area:  Statewide
Project Purpose:  Projects through the Long Island Sound RCPP may include efforts to improve the state's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability. Current projects include in-stream and riparian habitat improvements, with the goal of improving water quality and wildlife habitat.
Land Use(s):  Crop; Riparian
Batching Date: TBD
Ranking Tool: TBD

 

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Additional Information

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

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.

how to get started

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 tract number.

If you don’t have a farm tract 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 tract 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.

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.