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Environmental Quality Incentives Program - Ohio

EQIP
November 14, 2022

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

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.

Ohio NRCS FY 23 EQIP Funding Opportunities

Payment Schedule

NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis. We announce signup cutoff deadlines as funds become available. The FY 2023 EQIP Program cutoff date (batching) for FY 2023 EQIP applications is November 14, 2022. Applications on file by close of business (COB) will be considered for funding under the FY 2023 allocation for the following funding pools:

Cropland: This category addresses soil erosion and water quality resource concerns on cropland and adjacent incidental areas and managed on a regional basis.

Forestry: This category assists producers with non-industrial private forest land address resource concerns on land used for producing forest-related products.

Grazing: This category assists producers that have a pasture operation to address natural resource concerns related to the growing, raising, or reproducing of livestock.

Animal Feeding Operation: This category assists producers with confined livestock to address resource concerns related to the storage, treatment, and management of animal waste.

Wildlife Habitat Conservation: This category promotes habitat conservation for at-risk wildlife species, including restoring, developing, or enhancing wildlife habitat. 

High Tunnels: This category assists producers to extend the growing season, improve plant and soil quality, reduce nutrient and pesticide transportation, improve air quality through reduced transportation inputs, and reduce energy use by providing consumers with a local source of fresh produce.

Historically Underserved: This fund category is for applicants meeting the definition of Beginning Farmer/Rancher or Veteran Farmer/Ranchers who also meet the Beginning Farmer/Rancher definition. This category also assists limited resource producers and socially disadvantaged producers address resource concerns. 

Conservation Practice (CPA): A Conservation Practice Activity (CPA) developed by a non-NRCS individual or entity identifies conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need, typically for land transitioning to organic production, grazing land, or forest land, or for specific resource needs such as nutrient management.

On-Farm Energy: This category assists producers identify ways to reduce energy use on their farms and to implement various recommended measures using conservation practices that address inefficient use of on-farm energy. A screening tool is required to be ranked in this category. This initiative only offers assistance for 128 Conservation Activity Plans-Ag Energy Management Plans (AgEMPs) and certain energy conservation practices.

Organic Initiative: This category assists organic producers implement a broad set of conservation practices to address resource concerns. A screening tool is required to be ranked in this category. This initiative is further divided to rank certified organic operations and transitioning to organic operations separately. Producers exempt from certification are considered under the transitioning category.

Working Lands for Wildlife: This category targets conservation efforts to improve agricultural and forest productivity which enhance wildlife habitat on working landscapes. Target species are used as barometers for success because their habitat needs are representative of healthy, functioning ecosystems where conservation efforts benefit a much broader suite of species.

Statewide Urban Agriculture Initiative: This category assists people in urban areas across Ohio establish urban agriculture practices to give people an opportunity to grow fresh vegetables longer while managing water and pests effectively.

Cleveland/Akron Urban Agriculture Initiative: This category assists people in the Greater Cleveland area establish urban agriculture practices to give people an opportunity to grow fresh vegetables longer while managing water and pests effectively.

Cincinnati Urban Agriculture Initiative: This category assists people in the Greater Cincinnati area establish urban agriculture practices to give people an opportunity to grow fresh vegetables longer while managing water and pests effectively.

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI): GLRI protects and restores watersheds to combat invasive species, protect watersheds and shorelines, reduce non-point source pollution, and restore wetlands and other habitat areas. This GLRI project is for producers in Ohio’s Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) in the following sub-watershed: Blanchard, Lower Maumee, Upper Auglaize, Cedar-Portage, Sandusky, St. Marys, Ottawa, St. Joseph, Tiffin, and Upper Maumee.

Northern Bobwhite In Grasslands: This category assists eligible producers implement conservation practices to address habitat loss without taking land out of production.  

WLEB Tri-State Initiative Special Project: This category assists WLEB producers implement a broad set of conservation practices to address water quality concerns. A screening worksheet is required in this category. To be eligible for this initiative, you must be located in Ohio WLEB counties identified on the project map.

Oak Management Special Project: The project will assist woodland owners implement conservation measures recommended by foresters. The project area includes the Wayne National Forest and Ohio State Forests, as well as privately held forest land in Adams, Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Scioto, Vinton, Morgan, Monroe, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross and Washington Counties.

Conservation Enhancement and Outreach Special Project: The project is designed to assist landowners implement conservation practices to protect natural resources while enhancing pasture, crop, and forestland through targeted funding in Morgan and Guernsey Counties.

Pasture Improvement Special Project: The project is designed to assist landowners implement conservation practices through progressive planning on pasture land in Adams, Athens, Fayette, Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pike, Scioto, and Vinton Counties.

Southern Ohio Appalachian Outreach Special Project: The project will promote best management practices in Adams, Athens, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington Counties.  Special emphasis will be placed on grassland management, planned grazing systems, nutrient management and winter-feeding management to address water quality and soil erosion concerns.  

Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI): This project will assist agricultural producers to protect and improve water quality in the Headwaters of Loramie Creek Watershed(s).

National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI): This project will assist agricultural producers to protect and improve water quality in the Gladys, Solomon, and Five Mile Watersheds.

Get Started Today for 2023 Funding

Applications will be accepted throughout the year.

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted

NRCS will help eligible producers develop an EQIP plan of operations, which will become the basis of the EQIP contract. Download the NRCS Conservation Program Application here (PDF; 967 KB)

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

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.