A Conservation Activity Plan or CAP can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need. Typically, these plans are specific to certain kinds of land use such as:
transitioning to organic operations
A CAP can also address a specific resource need, such nutrient management or an air quality concern. With a CAP plan, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices.
How Do CAP Costs and Payments Work?
The Farm Bill statute allows EQIP payments based upon the estimated incurred cost of practice implementation, which for a CAP will be the labor costs typically associated with development of a plan meeting agency standards and requirements.
The payment is increased for qualifying historically underserved producers.
NRCS approves CAPs and contract payment rates offered through EQIP every fiscal year.
Producers should check with their local NRCS office where located to find out which CAPs are offered in their State; each State may support only specific CAPs. The list of nationally approved CAP practices can be downloaded from “Fiscal Year 2014 CAP Resources” below.
Eligible producers may apply at their local NRCS office. EQIP payments are made directly to program participants for development of a CAP. These CAP plans may only be developed by an NRCS-certified Technical Service Provider (TSP). Although NRCS personnel are prohibited from developing CAPs, they can assist with the development of conservation plans to address identified resource concerns.
How Do I Apply For A CAP?
NRCS accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis.
However, NRCS establishes application "cut-off" or submission deadline dates for evaluation and ranking of eligible applications. To obtain an EQIP application, visit or contact your local NRCS field office.
Technical requirements and planning criteria for each CAP are listed in each State's Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG). and in the CAP planning criteria available for download on in the "NRCS Technical Guidance Bulletin" section below. This information includes the details of what must be included in each kind of CAP approved for support through EQIP.
Detailed technical information is located in “Section III” of the Arkansas FOTG.
How Do I Find a Technical Service Provider?
You can find information about Technical Service Providers, such as:
CAP services provided by certified TSPs
finding a TSP in your State
how to be to become a certified Technical Service Provider
A comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) is a conservation plan for an animal feeding operation (AFO). It documents how nutrients and contaminants will be managed in the production and land treatment areas of the farm to protect animal health, human health and the environment.
A nutrient management plan is a document of record of how nutrients will be managed for plant production and to address the environmental concerns related to the offsite movement of nutrients from agricultural fields.
A forest management plan is a site-specific plan developed for a client, which addresses one or more resource concerns on land where forestry-related conservation activities or practices will be planned and applied.
A feed management plan is a farm-specific plan developed for a client, to document control of the quantity and quality of available nutrients, feedstuffs, and/or additives fed to livestock and poultry.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based, sustainable approach to manage pests. It uses a combination of techniques such as chemical tools biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices and use of resistant varieties of cultivars.
Irrigation Water Management (IWM) controls the volume, frequency, and rate of water for efficient irrigation. Measuring soil moisture, water use by plants and climate help decide when to irrigate, and how much water to apply.
An Agricultural Energy Management Plan- Headquarters (AgEMP) is a detailed documentation of energy consuming components and practices of the current operation, the previous year’s on-farm energy consumption, and the strategy by which the producer will explore and address their on-farm energy conservation concerns, objectives, and opportunities.
A Landscape Energy Plan is a detailed report/audit documenting the energy consuming components and practices of the current operation’s on-farm field energy consumption involved in the cropland, pasture/hayland, range, and woodland activities with recommended strategies to conserve energy resources.
Drainage Water Management (DWM) controls soil water table elevations and the timing of water discharges from subsurface or surface agricultural drainage systems. giving the opportunity for crop use of the subsurface water and nutrients.
A transition from irrigated to dryland farming and ranching conservation activity plan is a conservation system that focuses on crop yield sustainability and water conservation/water harvesting techniques.
A “Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition” is a conservation activity plan documenting decisions by producers/growers who agree to implement a system of conservation practices which assist the producer to transition from conventional farming or ranching systems to an organic production system.
A fish and wildlife habitat plan is a site specific plan developed with a client who is ready to plan and implement conservation activities or practices with consideration for fish and wildlife habitat.
A pollinator habitat enhancement plan is a site-specific conservation plan developed for a client that addresses the improvement, restoration, enhancement, expansion of flower-rich habitat that supports native and/or managed pollinators.