Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in Wisconsin
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land.Applications for EQIP can be submitted to NRCS at any time. Dates are set periodically to rank applications for available funding. All EQIP applications in Wisconsin will be prioritized using a screening tool. Applications will receive a high, medium, or low priority as of the application deadline. High priority applications will be ranked and funded first, followed by medium and low, as funding allows.
Applying for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis, however, NRCS establishes application "cut-off" or submission deadline dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers and submitted applications may be considered or evaluated in multiple funding pool opportunities. The following document describes how to apply for Farm Bill programs or visit the following website: www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted. Agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland and Tribes are eligible to apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands. Applicants must control or own eligible land, comply with adjusted gross income limitation provisions, be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements, and develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations. Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply. To apply for EQIP, contact your local service center.
Special Initiative Opportunities
Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers, Military Veteran Farmers
The 2014 Farm Bill continues to address unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers and Veteran Farmers. It provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing USDA programs and services. Enhancements 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. Wisconsin is committed to reaching out to Historically Underserved individuals and groups. Historically Underserved participants may also receive higher payment rates in addition to being considered in high priority funding pools. See the Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers page for the NRCS definition of the Historically Underserved.
Conservation Activity Plan
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
- grazing land
- forest land
A CAP can also address a specific resource need, such nutrient management or a herbicide resistance issue. With a CAP plan, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices. For more information about CAP's, click here.
National and State Priorities
The following national priorities, consistent with statutory resources concerns that include soil, water, wildlife, air quality, and related natural resource concerns, may be used in EQIP implementation:
- Reductions of nonpoint source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with total maximum daily loads (TMDL) where available; the reduction of surface and groundwater contamination; and the reduction of contamination from agricultural sources, such as animal feeding operations
- Conservation of ground and surface water resources
- Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
- Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land
- Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat
- Energy conservation to help save fuel, improve efficiency of water use, maintain production, and protect soil and water resources by more efficiently using fertilizers and pesticides and
- Biological carbon storage and sequestration
In addition, Wisconsin has identified the following priorities:
- Soil Erosion
- Soil Quality
- Water Quality
- Plant Degradation
For More Information
For more information, please contact your local USDA Service Center. Please note, starting a practice prior to written contract approval will result in the ineligibility of that practice for EQIP assistance unless a waiver has been approved.
State EQIP Contact: Ryan Gerlich, 608-662-4422 x227 firstname.lastname@example.org
State Organic Initiative Contact: Judy Derricks, 608-662-4422 x258 email@example.com