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Cattle graze in a field outside of Walcott, Iowa, Sept. 13, 2017.
USDA Photo by Preston Keres

Environmental Quality Incentives Program - North Dakota


The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is NRCS’ flagship conservation program that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners integrate conservation into working lands.

Applying for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Through EQIP, agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land.

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 and submitted applications may be considered or evaluated in multiple funding pool opportunities. The following document describes how to apply for Farm Bill programs or visit the following website: 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. Applicants must control or own eligible land, comply with adjusted gross income limitation provisions, be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements, and develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations. Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.

To apply for EQIP, contact your local service center.

EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers without discrimination or bias. (Note: Statutory requirements, such as priority for veteran farmers or ranchers, are allowed preference.)

For additional information on Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) please visit the following links:

National EQIP Page Link

NRCS North Dakota Announces Funding Opportunities in Fiscal Year 2024

October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024

NRCS North Dakota Announces the Environmental Quality Incentives Program – Organic Transition Initiative (EQIP - OTI) Opportunity

The OTI provides funding to support producers transitioning to organic production by providing financial assistance (FA) and technical assistance (TA) to implement conservation practices that support organic production. The OTI supports USDA’s objective of developing diverse and equitable food systems while encouraging climate-smart agriculture by focusing funds on transitioning producers to organic production.

Location: North Dakota

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

North Dakota Announces ACT NOW Application Process for EQIP

ACT NOW allows NRCS to approve and obligate a ranked application in a designated ranking pool(s) when an eligible application meets or exceeds a State-determined minimum ranking score. This means no longer having to wait for all applications to be reviewed and preapproved in a ranking pool. Ranking and preapprovals will continue until May 10, 2024 or until funds are expended, whichever comes first.

State Determined Minimum Threshold: 10 points

Applicable Fund Pools: Animal Feeding Operation; Beginning Farmer; CPA, DIA, & CEMA’s; Energy; EQIP-CIC; Forestry; Greater Sage Grouse Initiative; High Tunnel/Small Farm; IRA; Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration Partnership; Irrigation; Local Work Groups; Tribal; NWQI; Organic; Socially Disadvantaged; Wildlife


Round 1 - March 15, 2024

Round 2 - April 12, 2024

Round 3 - May 10, 2024

ND NRCS Announces the Migratory Bird Resurgence Initiative Program

The Migratory Bird Resurgence Initiative program emerged from a North Dakota concept called the Working Wetlands program. Farmers and conservation leaders worked together to find a new approach to conserve small wetlands in working cropland. The North Dakota project was instrumental in guiding the development of the new NRCS program.

EQIP-MBRI ACT NOW Sign-up period:  March 1, 2024 through May 10, 2024.

MBRI applications will be processed in the order they are received up to the application cutoff date of May 10, 2024.

The State office will preapprove applications submitted to SAT that exceed the ranking threshold of 10.

Approved Locations: Counties within the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota.

NRCS North Dakota Announces the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)

The purpose of NWQI is to work with producers and landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices as part of areawide efforts to improve water quality in high-priority areas. NWQI is designed to help individual agricultural producers take actions to reduce the runoff of sediment, nutrients, and pathogens into surface waters where water quality is a critical concern.

The State Conservationist has worked with State water quality agencies, State Technical Committees, and other partners to select watersheds that would receive targeted, long-term investment in order to accelerate voluntary conservation efforts to improve water quality.

NWQI emphasizes a “systems approach” to address priority natural resource concerns. A cornerstone of this approach is to encourage producers to implement a system of practices that has been determined to address specific high-priority resource concerns in selected watersheds and incorporate practices that address the concepts of avoiding, controlling, or trapping pollutants, or “ACT.”

Location: Horseshoe Lake, Outlet Forest River, Park River (Walsh County)

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

ND NRCS Announces an EQIP-Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration Partnership (JCLRP) North Dakota Badlands Restoration Project Phase 2

North Dakota NRCS and North Dakota USFS were awarded a JCLRP for FY 2023 through FY 2025. The ND JCLRP Badlands restoration project will focus on managing native ponderosa pine and rocky mountain juniper stands with mechanical or chemical treatments. By managing these stands producers are reducing fuels and threat of wildfire to communities and private property.

Approved Locations:  Private or Public land within North Dakota’s Badlands in western North Dakota located in Billings, Dunn, Golden Valley, McKenzie and Slope Counties. See attachment.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

NRCS North Dakota Announces the Greater Sage Grouse Initiative Funding Opportunity (GSGI)

Location: Designated Sage Grouse Areas in Bowman, Slope, and Golden Valley Counties

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) is a partnership that leverages capabilities and resources, targets assistance where it is most needed, engages State and local partners, and works with agricultural producers, forest land managers, and Tribes. Working Lands for Wildlife promotes voluntary, incentive-based conservation on private and Tribal lands.

NRCS North Dakota Announces the Environmental Quality Incentives Program – Conservation Incentive Contract (EQIP-CIC) Opportunity

The purpose and focus of EQIP-CIC is Climate Smart Agriculture, Forestry, and drought mitigation. EQIP-CIC provides payments for incentive practices and can be a steppingstone for producers between EQIP and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).   

The entire state of North Dakota is considered a High Priority Area, with Grasslands (Range and Pasture), Cropland and Associated Ag Lands being the land uses eligible for EQIP-CIC. In Fiscal Year 2024, applicants must address one or more of the following priority resource concerns to be eligible for EQIP-CIC: Degraded Plant Condition, Soil Quality Limitations or Livestock Production Limitation. 

A key feature to EQIP-CIC is that the contracts will be for a minimum of five years, and must have a management practice planned on the contracted acreage. Supporting conservation practices may be contracted if needed to facilitate the management practice. Payments for EQIP-CIC will follow existing EQIP payment schedules.

Location: North Dakota

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

ND NRCS Announces Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding through Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP)

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will provide assistance to agricultural and forestland producers to invest in climate and clean energy solutions and promote climate-related benefits through Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs. A select list of practices and their facilitating practices are eligible for this sign-up. Please contact your local field office for more information.

Approved Locations: North Dakota
Application Deadline: November 17, 2023

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Financial Assistance and Stewardship Farm Bill Programs operate under a continuous sign-up; therefore, applications are accepted on a continuing basis throughout the year and cutoff dates are scheduled to allow for ranking, prioritizing, and selection of applications for funding.  The FY 2024 EQIP Program cutoff date (batching) for FY 2024 EQIP applications is September 22, 2023. Applications on file by close of business (COB) will be considered for funding under the FY 2024 allocation for the following funding pools:

  • All LWG’s (See LWG Map PDF below)
  • Organic
  • Energy
  • Conservation Planning Activities
  • Beginning Farmer
  • Socially Disadvantaged
  • Wildlife
  • Forestry
  • Irrigation
  • High Tunnel Systems/Small Farm
  • Animal Feeding Operations

North Dakota Local Work Group (LWG) subaccounts for FY 2024 will be as follows: NE Zone, NW Zone, SE Zone, SW Zone and Tribal, cropland and grassland categories within each subaccount except Tribal.

LWG Map 2024 North Dakota

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:

  1. 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
  2. Conservation of ground and surface water resources
  3. 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
  4. Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land
  5. Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat
  6. 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
  7. Biological carbon storage and sequestration

In addition, North Dakota has identified the following priorities:

  • Grasslands Health
  • Soil Health
  • Water Quality and Quantity
  • Wildlife habitat enhancement

Get Started Today for 2024 Funding

Applications will be accepted throughout the year.

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit

NRCS will help eligible producers develop an EQIP plan of operations, which will become the basis of the EQIP contract.

Download the NRCS Conservation Application:

EQIP applications will be ranked based on a number of factors, including the environmental benefits and cost effectiveness of the proposal.   

Archived EQIP (2023)
Archived EQIP (2022)


Sign up for Farm Bill email updates 

North Dakota Program Contact:

Jarvis R. Keney
Assistant State Conservationist (Programs)
Phone: (701) 530.2005

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

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 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.