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FY 2020 EQIP Conservation Activity Plan (CAP)

Image of Soil  









An NRCS employee takes a soil sample on a farm that has incorporated many conservation practices to protect and enhance natural resources (like soil) (Charles City, Va.).

What Is A 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:

  • Crop land
  • Grazing land
  • Forest land

A CAP can also address a specific resource need, such nutrient management or resource-conserving crop rotation, soil health, conservation planning assessment, energy, and precision conservation management - With a CAP, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the recommended conservation practices.

Are there any new CAPs offered for FY2020?

CAP 116 – Soil Health Management Plan

This CAP is available to assist producers with developing a conservation plan that identifies soil health concerns related to the physical, biological and chemical properties of the soil. This activity is used to assist the client in identifying and documenting soil health resource concerns and opportunities, and/or in developing an adaptive Soil Health Management Plan. Resource concerns to be considered during plan development are soil organic matter depletion, compaction, soil organism habitat loss or degradation, aggregate instability and concentration of salts, or other chemicals.

CAP 136 – Agricultural Energy Design Plan (AgEDP)

This CAP is available to assist clients with implementation of conservation practices that affect energy conservation. It includes developing preliminary designs that meet conservation practice standards, obtaining the client’s design alternative selections, computing the energy savings that may result from implementation of the selected design alternatives, preparing design reports and providing final design packages for the selected design alternatives.

What Authority Does NRCS Have For CAPs?

Farm Bill legislation provides NRCS the authority to use financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for practice payments to develop of plans appropriate for the eligible land of a program participant.  The Act specifically authorizes EQIP to be used for comprehensive nutrient management plans and other plans that further the purposes of the program. The conservation practice associated with plan development under this authority is known as a “Conservation Activity Plan”, or CAP.

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 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 2020 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.

Producers must not start any financially assisted activity or engage the services of a certified TSP prior to the contract being approved by NRCS. A producer who hires or obtains services of a TSP before the contract is approved is ineligible for EQIP financial support to develop the requested CAP.

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 on the NRCS national TSP webpage.

What Technical Requirements Do CAPs Have?

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 should be located in “Section III” of each State FOTG. You can find State- and county-level technical guidance on the FOTG County Locator page. 

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. Choose the state where the property that you are interested in enrolling in EQIP is located.

Each State's EQIP page includes application ranking criteria, priority resource concerns, lists of eligible practices, payment rates, information about where you can submit applications, eligibility requirements and other program requirements.


Fiscal Year 2020 CAP Resources

Fiscal Year 2020 Program Guidance

Document or Resource Name


NRCS Fiscal Year 2020 CAP National Bulletin (web version)

NRCS program policy and technical guidance to support implementation of CAPs through EQIP program. 


CAP Code

CAP Plan Name



Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (DOCX, 91KB)


Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan Template (94KB)

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.


Nutrient Management Plan (DOCX, 29KB)

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.


Forest Management Plan (DOCX, 32KB)

Guide for Foresters for the Joint Management Plan Template (PDF, 396KB)

Guide for Landowners for the Joint Management Plan Template (PDF, 700KB)

Managing Your Woodlands National ATFS/FS/NRCS Joint Management Plan Template (PDF, 314KB)


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.


Feed Management Plan (DOCX, 21KB)

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.


Grazing Management Plan (DOCX, 36KB)


A grazing management plan is a site-specific plan, developed with a client to address one or more resource concerns on land where grazing related activities or practices will be applied.


Prescribed Burning Plan (DOCX, 37KB)

A prescribed burning plan is a site-specific plan developed with a client which addresses one or more resource concerns on land through the use of fire.


Integrated Pest Management (DOCX, 25KB)

Integrated Pest Management Template (DOC, 25KB)


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.


Soil Health Management Plan Criteria (DOCX, 59KB)

A soil health management plan (SHMP) is used to identify and document soil health resource concerns and develop a transitional cropping management plan to improve overall soil health. The plan includes management activities and/or land management practices to address all 4 soil health principles associated with crop and forage production.



Irrigation Water Management Plan (DOCX, 39KB)


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.


Agricultural Energy Management Checklist (DOCX, 47KB)

Agricultural Energy Management Plan (DOCX, 128KB)

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.



Drainage Water Management Plan (DOCX, 71KB)


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.

136 Agricultural Energy Design Plan (AgEDP) (PDF, 261KB) An Agricultural Energy Design Plan (AgEDP) will provide producers with the design and implementation requirements necessary for the conservation practices that affect energy conservation.
138 Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition Plan (213KB)  CAP 138 helps farmers who are interested in transitioning from conventional farming practices to organic production by addressing the natural resource concerns on their operation. 

Fish and Wildlife Habitat Plan (DOCX, 48KB)


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.



Pollinator Habitat Plan (DOCX, 40KB)


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.



IPM Herbicide Resistant Weed Conservation Plan (DOCX, 28KB)

IPM Herbicide Resistant Weed Conservation Template (DOCX, 21KB)


Integrated Pest Management Herbicide Resistance Weed Conservation Plan emphasizes modifications in herbicide use to suppress weeds on cropland.



Previous CAP Resources

FY 2019 Conservation Activity Plans | FY 2018 Conservation Activity Plans | FY 2017 Conservation Activity Plans |  FY 2016 Conservation Activity Plans | FY 2015 Conservation Activity Plans | FY 2014 Conservation Activity Plans | FY 2013 Conservation Activity Plans


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