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Environmental Quality Incentives Program - Wisconsin


The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and non-industrial forest managers to address natural resource concerns.

EQIP delivers environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, increased soil health and reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved or created wildlife habitat, and mitigation against drought and increasing weather volatility.

How It Works

This voluntary conservation programs helps producers make conservation work for them. Together, NRCS and producers invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations.

Through EQIP, NRCS provides agricultural producers and non-industrial forest managers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices. Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations. Through EQIP, you can voluntarily implement conservation practices, and NRCS co-invests in these practices with you.

How to Apply

The best way to learn if EQIP is a good fit for you is by contacting your local NRCS office. If you choose to move forward, your local NRCS conservationist will guide you through applying for the program. 

Applications are ranked, and if yours is funded, NRCS will offer you an EQIP contract to receive financial assistance for the cost of implementing practices. Payment rates for conservation practices are reviewed and set each fiscal year. For more information, go to "How to Apply" or the section below "How to Get Assistance."


Climate Smart Agriculture & Forestry

Field next to grassy tree stand

NRCS identifies a sub-set of conservation practices as critical for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and ultimately mitigating the impacts of climate change.

In this targeted EQIP signup, NRCS in Wisconsin prioritizes conservation practices that support systems for:

  • Building soil health.
  • Improving nitrogen management.
  • Improving livestock waste management systems.
  • Enhancing grazing and pasture management.
  • Improving agroforestry, forestry and upland wildlife habitat.  

Conservation Incentive Contracts

Plant inside a light bulb shaped glass planted in dirt

 Conservation Incentive Contracts (CIC) provide additional opportunities for eligible producers to further the adoption, management and maintenance of conservation practices and activities through the implementation of incentive practices. Incentive contracts are an option that blend EQIP and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) by providing producers with financial assistance to adopt conservation activities on working landscapes. 



Red barn and 4 silos on a Wisconsin farm

NRCS helps livestock producers improve nutrient handling and clean water separation by implementing practices supporting manure storage, feedlot and barnyard runoff and clean water diversion. This special opportunity also provides technical and financial assistance for roofs and covers placed over, for example, open cattle lots.

Source Water Protection

Source water refers to sources of water (such as rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, springs and groundwater) that provide water to public drinking water supplies and private wells. Source water protection includes a wide variety of actions and activities aimed at safeguarding, maintaining or improving the quality and/or quantity of sources of drinking water and their contributing areas.

The 2018 Farm Bill added a provision providing for the protection of source water through targeted conservation practices. This provision, 1244(n), instructs USDA to encourage the protection of drinking water sources through the following methods:

  • Identifying local priority areas for drinking water protection in each State. This is done in collaboration with State technical committees and community water systems and may address concerns about either the quality or quantity of source water or both.
  • Providing increased incentives for practices that relate to water quality and quantity and protect drinking water sources while also benefitting producers.
  • Dedicating at least 10 percent of the total funds available for conservation programs (excluding CRP) to be used for source water protection each year, from fiscal year 2019 through 2023.


Technical Service Providers (TSP) or other third-party service providers for NRCS can carry out planning, design, implementation, and monitoring tasks for NRCS conservation program purposes (previously known as Conservation Activity Plans or CAPs). NRCS has reorganized and renamed CAPs into three new categories—Conservation Planning Activities (CPAs), Design and Implementation Activities (DIAs), and Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMAs). NRCS broke these activities out to clarify which phase of the NRCS conservation planning process the TSP/Provider will be supporting. 

  • Conservation Planning Activities (CPA): The CPA will document client decisions regarding selected alternatives including identification of desired primary and supporting practices that the client would like to use to treat identified resource concerns. Planning activities associated with forest management, Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMP) and others can be performed as CPA’s.
  • Design and Implementation Activities (DIA): Activities that allow for development of specific practice designs, management prescriptions, or other instructions that allow the client to implement the conservation practice or system of conservation practices. Design and implementation activities for Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans, forest management, grazing management and others are included.
  • Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMA): Activities that include evaluation, monitoring, testing, or assessment for a specific purpose, to complete practice implementation requirements, or to determine the effectiveness of conservation practices and activities. Examples may include Edge of Field Monitoring and Energy Audits. 

Eligible producers may apply at their local NRCS office. EQIP payments are made directly to the program participants for development of a CPA, DIA or CEMA. These may only be developed by an NRCS-certified TSPs. To find an NRCS-certified TSP, go to the Technical Service Providers landing page.


Additional Special Initiative Opportunities

Local Working Groups
Small-Scale & Urban Agricultural Farming
National Organic Initiative
Organic Transition Initiative
On-Farm Energy Initiative
Conservation Incentive Contracts
Woman in a light blue shirt with sunglasses on her head selling vegetables at a farm stand
Fridays on the Farm

Deep Rooted Organics

Being a beginning farmer, Tiffany Cade of Deep Rooted Organics in Westby Wisconsin, qualified for special incentives and streamlined delivery of technical and financial assistance through EQIP.

Wisconsin EQIP Contact

Meagan Duberstein
(608) 662-4422


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.