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How to Apply for EQIP

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation or improved or created wildlife habitat.

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Applying for EQIP

EQIP is available to producers or owners of eligible land with a natural resource concern. The land can be either in agricultural or forest production including producers engaged in livestock production.

Applications for EQIP are accepted on a continuous basis. Agricultural producers who submit a signed application, NRCS-CPA-1200 form, at their local NRCS field offices by the announced ranking cutoff date will be evaluated for funding consideration for that batching period.

Applicants must complete the NRCS-CPA-1200 application form available at their local field office or download the application and return the form to their local NRCS field office. After submitting an application, the applicant will also receive a copy of the NRCS-CPA-1202 Contract Appendix, explaining EQIP contract terms and conditions. Reviewing the contract appendix up front helps the applicant understand the requirements of the EQIP program. In addition, all applicants need to meet eligibility requirements in order to be an EQIP participant. Contact your local office to discuss eligibility criteria.

Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers, Military Veteran Farmers

The 2014 Farm Bill continues to address the 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture (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.

Illinois is committed to reaching out to Historically Underserved individuals and groups. Historically Underserved participants may also receive higher payment rates. See the Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers page for the NRCS definition of the Historically Underserved.

Land Eligibility 

In order to be considered for EQIP funding the land offered must be linked to an eligible agricultural producer as determined by the Farm Services Agency. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and associated lands.

Ranking Pools

EQIP is a competitive process and EQIP applicants compete for funds in funding pools. Various funding pool categories allow similar application types to be grouped together when competing for funds. In order to compete, EQIP applications are ranked using environmental ranking points based on planned practices and resource concerns being addressed. The local NRCS field office staff will work with the applicant to rank the application and plan the conservation practices. 

Contacts

Contact your local field office for more information.