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Environmental Quality Incentives Program | Virginia


This highly versatile offering is a good fit for most Virginia producers with fund pools for livestock, cropland and forestry and 13 associated special initiatives for statewide and targeted conservation activities.

State Priorities

  • Conservation Planning Activities (CPAs), Design and Implementation Activities (DIAs) and Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMAs) – Planning, design, implementation and monitoring tasks for NRCS conservation program purposes (previously known as Conservation Activity Plans or CAPs)
  • Cropland – Practices to enhance water and soil quality while improving plant health and productivity
  • Forestry – Practices that will lead to the conversion of marginal land (active cropland, pasture or abandoned open land) to hardwood, longleaf or shortleaf pine
  • Livestock – Practices to improve and protect water and soil quality while benefiting plant and animal health.
  • Longleaf Pine – Stand establishment and management within the historical range in Southeastern Virginia.
  • National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) – Targeted practices to clean up impaired streams and improve aquatic habitats. The following watersheds are eligible for this fund pool: War Branch and Mountain Run in Rockingham County and Gap Creek in Rockingham and Shenandoah counties.
  • Organic – Practices to help certified organic growers, those working to achieve organic certification, and specialty crop producers address resource concerns on their operations.
  • StrikeForce – Priority ranking for cropland, high tunnel and livestock practices to support program participation among underserved producers in rural communities.
  • Wildlife – Practice to create, improve and manage habitat for wildlife. (See also Working Lands for Wildlife initiative)
    • American Black Duck Initiative – Focused conservation practices to restore wintering habitat in the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay watersheds
    • Eastern Hellbender – Targeted conservation practices to reduce sediment and nutrient inputs for improved habitat and water quality
    • Golden-winged Warbler – Young forest habitat restoration in Appalachian breeding territory
    • Northern Bobwhite in Pine Savannas – Management strategies to convert commercial loblolly and shortleaf pine plantings to highly valuable pine savannah habitats
    • Northern Bobwhite in Working Grasslands – Native grass restoration to address habitat loss while maintaining or improving cattle production on the land.

EQIP Decision-Making Process

Input from Outside Groups, Agencies and Citizens: The list of eligible practices in Virginia, payment rates and limits, eligible resource concerns and state scoring criteria was developed based on input and recommendations from the State Technical Committee (STC). The STC includes representatives from various agribusinesses, producer groups, conservation organizations and federal, state and tribal government agency representatives.

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.

Assistance for Underserved Groups

Virginia is committed to equitable program access for Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers, Military Veteran Farmers individuals and groups. These participants may also receive higher payment rates in addition to being considered in high priority funding pools. Enhancements under the 2018 Farm Bill 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. 

Virginia EQIP - Documents and Procedures

National Program Initiatives:

  • Conservation Planning Activities (CPAs), Design and Implementation Activities (DIAs), and Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMAs)
    • Non-Tribal
    • Tribal
  • EQIP - Conservation Incentive Contracts: statewide competition for grazing lands to promote implementation of 528 Prescribed Grazing
  • High Tunnel Systems (Socially Disadvantaged by NRCS Area)
    • Area High Tunnel System - competitive on an area basis
    • Beginning Farmer High Tunnel System – competitive statewide
    • Socially Disadvantaged High Tunnel System - competitive statewide
  • Urban Agriculture - competitive statewide for land within an urban areas as defined by the latest U.S. Census or, or land within an Incorporated towns
  • Organic Initiative (Certified and Transitional)
  • StrikeForce Initiatives (eligible land must be within designated StrikeForce localities) Cropland and livestock ranking pools - StrikeForce Cropland
  • Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership (Eastern Divide)

Landscape Conservation Initiatives:

  • Longleaf Pine Initiative
  • National Water Quality Initiative (Smith Creek Watershed)
    • Dry Fork
    • Gap Creek
    • Mountain Run
    • War Branch
  • Working Lands for Wildlife
    • American Black Duck
    • Golden-Winged Warbler
    • Northern Bobwhite in Working Grasslands

State Conservation Initiatives:

  • Cropland (competitive on an area basis)
    • Area 1 Cropland
    • Area 2 Cropland
    • Area 3 Cropland
    • Area 4 Cropland
  • Cropland (competitive statewide)
    • Beginning Farmer – Cropland
    • Socially Disadvantaged – Cropland
    • Tribal - Cropland
  • Forestry (competitive statewide)
    • Longleaf Pine/Shortleaf Pine and Hardwood Management
    • Tribal Longleaf Pine/Shortleaf Pine and Hardwood Management
  • Livestock (competitive on an area basis)
    • Livestock Area Livestock
    • Area 3 Livestock
    • Area 4 Livestock
  • Livestock (competitive statewide)
    • Beginning Farmer Livestock
    • Poultry (competitive statewide)
    • Socially Disadvantaged Livestock
  • Wildlife
    • Aquatic
    • Hellbender
    • Northern Bobwhite in Pine Savannahs and 
    • Terrestrial (competitive statewide)
    • Tribal Terrestrial Wildlife

FY2024 EQIP Batching Period (applicable to all offerings listed above)

Application Deadline: Oct. 13, 2023 (Applications must be received by close of business on this date).

Please contact your local service center for details.





State Contact:

Ron Wood, EQIP Manager - Virginia NRCS Programs
PH: 804-287-1660 | Email:

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.