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.
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.
Targeted EQIP financial assistance is available through several conservation initiatives. See which initiative is available in your state.
- High Tunnel Initiative
- Organic Initiative
- Air Quality Initiative
- Landscape Conservation Initiative
- On-Farm Energy Initiative
- Colorado River Basin Salinity Project
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.
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.
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.
EQIP and EQIP-CIC application batching date for Fiscal Year 2023 is October 13, 2022.
State EQIP Initiatives
NRCS assists applicants with installing buffers along streams and waterbodies to reduce sediment, pollutants, and decrease stream temperatures.
Washington's Disaster Initiative
NRCS is working with applicants that have been impacted by flooding or wildfire on their property. Producers statewide who were impacted by wildfires will be eligible to rest their burnt grazing land for one year. Producers affected by flooding in the Nooksack and Skagit river watersheds will be eligible for assistance in repairing damage from flooding.
Limited Resources Farmer or Rancher (LRFR)
NRCS assists private landowners with the implementation of conservation practices on all land uses within Washington State that qualify as a LRFR
- Individual producer:
- A person with direct or indirect gross farm sales not more than the current indexed value in each of the previous 2 fiscal years (adjusted for inflation using Prices Paid by Farmer Index as compiled by National Agricultural Statistical Service), and
- Has a total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of four, or less than 50 percent of county median household income in each of the previous 2 years (to be determined annually using Commerce Department Data); or
A legal entity or joint operation if all individual members independently qualify under paragraph (1) of this definition.
Urban agriculture pioneers are taking action in their communities, growing not only fresh, healthy produce, but also providing jobs, beautifying their neighborhoods, and offering access to fresh, healthy food in areas where grocery stores are sparse.
As American agriculture continues to grow in new directions, NRCS conservation assistance is growing along with it. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance for assistance for urban growers in areas such as:
• Soil Health
• Irrigation and Water Conservation
• Weeds and Pests
• High Tunnels. NRCS can provide financial assistance for high tunnels, used to extend the growing season and to protect plants from harsh weather, air pollution and pests. By making local produce available for more months in the year, fewer resources are used to transport food to plates.
Statewide Wildlife (Aquatic)
Financial and technical assistance is available to support implementation of habitat restoration and enhancement projects that will benefit one or more of the following: Salmon & Steelhead or Native Olympia Oyster. Applications for projects that remove barriers for fish and other aquatic species, restore stream side riparian habitat, restore habitat in streams, rivers, and wetlands, improve floodplain habitat, and increase intertidal substrate resources for native oyster will be prioritized for funding.
Statewide Wildlife (Terrestrial)
Financial and technical assistance is available to support implementation of habitat restoration and enhancement projects that will benefit one or more of the following: Threatened and Endangered Wildlife (State and Federally listed), Pollinators (emphasis on Monarch Butterfly), and Wildlife Corridors. Applications for projects that improve quantity and quality of forage and cover, improve habitat connectivity, and restore habitat for sensitive species will be prioritized for funding.
NRCS developed the Sage-grouse Initiative to help private landowners voluntarily conserve sage-grouse populations and habitat on their working lands. In Washington, NRCS identified potential threats to sage grouse and their habitat and determined specific conservation practices to reduce those threats. Technical and financial assistance through EQIP is available for implementing the specific practices.
NRCS assists private landowners with the implementation of their previously developed Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP)
NRCS assists private landowners with the implementation of their previously developed and approved Forest Management Plan (FMP)
NRCS assists private landowners with implementation of irrigation conservation practices that improve watering efficiency.
NRCS assists private landowners with the implementation of conservation practices that reduce or eliminate Ephemeral Gully and/or Wind Erosion.
Statewide Soil Health
NRCS assists private landowners with the implementation of conservation practices that improve soil health.
NRCS, working with other State and Federal partners, have identified areas where focused conservation can affect Threatened and Endangered species habitat near Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM).
Beginning Farmer or Rancher
NRCS assists private landowners with the implementation of conservation practices on all landuses within Washington State that qualify as a Beginning Farmer or Rancher.
The term “Beginning Farmer or Rancher” means a participant who:
- Has not operated a farm or ranch, or who has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 consecutive years. This requirement applies to all members of a legal entity, and who
- Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch.
In the case of a contract with an individual, individually or with the immediate family, material and substantial participation requires that the individual provide substantial day-to-day labor and management of the farm or ranch, consistent with the practices in the county or State where the farm is located. In the case of a contract made with a legal entity, all members must materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch. Material and substantial participation requires that the members provide some amount of the management, or labor and management necessary for day-to-day activities, such that if the members did not provide these inputs, operation of the farm or ranch would be seriously impaired.
Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher
NRCS assists private landowners with the implementation of conservation practices on all land uses within Washington State that qualify as Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher.
The term “Socially Disadvantaged” means an individual or entity who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group. For an entity, at least 50 percent ownership in the farm business must be held by socially disadvantaged individuals. A socially disadvantaged group is a group whose members have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.
These groups consist of the following:
- American Indians or Alaskan Natives
- Blacks or African Americans
- Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders
Note: Gender alone is not a covered group for the purposes of NRCS conservation programs. The term entities reflect a broad interpretation to include partnerships, couples, legal entities, etc.
Statewide Tribal Local Working Group
NRCS assists Tribes with the implementation of conservation practices for identified Plant/Animal/Aquatic species of cultural importance to each Tribe.
Program Payments and Payment Rates
Practice Payment Schedule
NRCS provides financial assistance for selected conservation practices. Download the Washington payment schedules to see which activities qualify, and how much financial assistance is available. Practice scenarios show examples of how financial assistance payments are calculated.
Information on Washington Payment Scenarios can be found here
Existing 2014 Farm Bill Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)-EQIP Projects
Yakima Integrated Plan-Toppenish to Tenaway
Screening Worksheet (Pending)
Ranking and Practices (Pending)
SW WA NIPF Conservation Partnership
Screening Worksheet (Pending)
Ranking and Practices (Pending)
FY22 RCPP Puyallup Watershed Partnership
Ranking Tool (Pending)
FY22 RCPP WRIA 1 Salmon Recovery and Water Quality Improvements
Ranking Tool (Pending)
Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry
As of November 2021, these thirty three (33) NRCS Conservation Practices and eighty one (81) CSP Enhancements have been identified to deliver quantifiable climate solutions, based primarily on methodologies described in COMET-Planner. These practices reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and/or enhance carbon sequestration in a quantifiable manner and complement the National Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. The practices also help deliver on USDA’s commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of the U.S. agricultural sector. Many of these conservation activities also provide benefits for climate change adaptation and resilience, but this list does not include all activities supporting adaptation, as it is limited to those with quantifiable mitigation benefits, based on currently available data.
Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry (CSAF) Mitigation Practice List 1
Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
1 All listed practices have quantifiable carbon sequestration and/or GHG reduction methodologies described in COMET-Planner. New practices will be added as science progresses and scientifically defensible quantification methodologies are identified to accompany existing and new NRCS conservation practice standards.
2 NHCP Notice 172 (July 28, 2021) combined CPS 380 and CPS 650. CPS 380 reflects the new name effective October 1, 2021. CPS 650 remains available in IT applications as States make the transition.
3 NHCP Notice 172 will require states to transition fully to CPS 380 by July 28, 2022.
Joyce Trevithick, Program Liaison
Natural Resources Conservation Service
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 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.