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Program Overview

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What is EQIP?

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

Together, NRCS works with the producer to develop a plan that:

  1. Identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified natural resource concerns
  2. Implements conservation practices and activities according to an EQIP plan of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified natural resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions.

    Producers can submit applications for consideration at any time during the year. Applications are pooled after the next application deadline, then ranked based on conservation priorities, and finally selected for funding. You can learn more about applying here.
    EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term that ends when payment is made for the final practice. These contracts provide financial assistance to implement conservation practices. Program practices and activities are carried out according to an EQIP program plan of operations, developed in conjunction with the producer, that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address the resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions.

Who Is Eligible For EQIP?

Generally owners of land in agricultural production or persons who are engaged in livestock or agricultural production on eligible land may participate in the EQIP program. Agricultural operations must be registered with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and have established farm records. More information about eligibility for participation in EQIP can be found here.

Additional Assistance for Historically Underserved Producers:

Historically underserved (HU) participants are eligible for advance payments to help offset costs related to purchasing materials or contracting services through EQIP. HU participants may elect to receive an advance of not less than 50 percent of the EQIP conservation practice payment amount. Participants who receive advance payment must expend the funds within 90 days of receiving the advance. You can find out more about historically underserved producers here.       

More Informaiton About Farm Bill 2018 Changes to EQIP:

EQIP is an authorized program under the Farm Bill and is periodically reviewed and updated under each new farm bill.

More inforamation about the changes made to the program under the 2018 Farm Bill is available here.

Local Input Helps Shape Conservation Priorities:

Local input through the State Technical Committee and local work groups help define EQIP resource concerns. Local Work Groups in New Hampshire have been established on a county basis, with meetings convened by the local county Conservation Districts. These groups are the foundation of locally-led conservation.
     The Local Work Group ensures that a conservation needs assessment is developed using community stakeholders input. The assessment process helps the Local Work Group identify resource concerns, recommend practices, priorities, payment rates, cost share levels, and funding needs.
    Find out about your Local Work Group by contacting your county conservation district.


Do You Have Questions?

     To find out more about EQIP and other conservation programs, visit your local USDA Service Center and talk with someone from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, or your local Conservation District. For office locations, click here.

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