The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is NRCS’ flagship conservation program that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners integrate conservation into working lands.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) 2024
Farmers can apply now for technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
The first EQIP application cutoff date for Fiscal Year 2024 is November 17, 2023. First Eligibility deadline is January 22, 2024.
Additional application cutoff dates are scheduled March 15, 2024, and May 17, 2024. Eligibility deadlines are April 19th and May 31st, respectively, pending funds availability. NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off dates.
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 and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes and veterans are eligible for an increased payment rate and an advance payment of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract.
- 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
- Filed a Business Plan 902 at the local FSA office
- Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations
Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply. Contact your local USDA Service Center.
EQIP Conservation Incentive Contract (CIC)
EQIP CIC is a program available to producers who are interested in a steppingstone between EQIP and CSP.
First Application Cutoff Date is November 17, 2023.
First Eligibility Deadline is January 22, 2024.
Second Application Cutoff Date is March 15, 2024.
Second Eligibility Deadline is April 19, 2024
More Information Available at Delaware EQIP-CIC.
New Initiative - Organic Transition Initiative (OTI)
Who is eligible - Funding available to producers transitioning to organic production to implement conservation practices that support organic production.
Application Signup Deadline - March 8, 2024
Where do I sign up - local NRCS or District Office
More information at Organic Transition Initiative (OTI)
ACT Now - New Initiative for FY 24
ACT Now funding process will allow applicants that meet the state minimum required ranking scores to avoid longer wait times typically associated with conservation programs, allowing them to enter into EQIP contracts quickly.
Applications eligible for the identified ACT NOW ranking pools will be accepted on a continuous sign-up basis beginning Nov. 3, 2023, through Dec. 15, 2023, at which time the ACT NOW sign-up period will close. Applications eligible through ACT NOW will be processed in the order received.
ACT NOW eligible practices include:
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program Inflation Reduction Act (EQIP-IRA) – Cropland: Soil carbon amendments such as biochar and compost application to improve organic matter; and cover crops. Minimum Ranking Score of 15.
- EQIP-IRA – Forestry: Tree and Shrub establishment. Minimum Ranking Score of 20.
- EQIP-IRA – Energy: Agricultural facility energy improvements such as LED lighting, insulation, air sealing, tunnel doors, vent boxes, heaters, inefficient fans, and more. Minimum Ranking Score of 15.
- EQIP – Conservation Planning Activities (CPAs): Forest management plans, soil health management plans, and conservation plan supporting organic transition. Minimum Ranking Score of 15.
- EQIP – Design and Implementation Activities (DIAs): Pollinator habitat design, improved management of drainage water design, irrigation water management design, and more. Minimum Ranking Score of 15.
- EQIP – Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMAs): Soil health testing. Minimum Ranking Score of 15.
For more information on NRCS programs, contact your local USDA Service Center. In Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext. 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3.
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.