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News Release

Make Conservation Work for You in 2019 with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Julie Hawkins
(804) 287-1692

Richmond, VA, September 19, 2018 – The changing season brings a new opportunity for Virginia farmers and forest landowners to reap a rich harvest of productivity through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Sign up now for customized assistance from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that can enhance the health and function of large and small acreages.

Technical and financial assistance is available to plan and install conservation practices on cropland, pastureland, and non-industrial private forestland. NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at specific times. Virginia has established two application-batching periods for national programmatic and landscape conservation initiatives:

Application Batching Period

Application Deadline

Batching Deadline


October 19, 2018

November 2, 2018


November 2, 2018

November 16, 2018

While NRCS will continue to accept general EQIP applications, first quarter activities will be limited to subaccounts not affected by potential changes in the new Farm Bill. Special EQIP fund pools addressing national programmatic and landscape initiatives will be available for the following focal areas:

  • High Tunnel System – Steel-framed, polyethylene-covered structures to extend the growing season in an environmentally safe manner; 
  • Longleaf Pine – Stand establishment and management within the historical range in Southeastern Virginia; 
  • Northern Bobwhite in Working Grasslands – Native grass restoration to address habitat loss while maintaining or improving cattle production on the land;
  • American Black Duck Initiative – Focused conservation practices to restore wintering habitat in the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay watersheds;
  • Golden-winged Warbler – Young forest habitat restoration in Appalachian breeding territory;
  • National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) – Targeted practices to clean up impaired streams and improve aquatic habitats in the War Branch and Mountain Run watersheds in Rockingham County and Gap Creek in Rockingham and Shenandoah County;
  • On-Farm Energy – Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) or farm energy audits to assess energy use and recommend ways to reduce it;
  • Organic – Practices to help certified organic growers, those working to achieve organic certification, and specialty crop producers address resource concerns on their operations;
  • StrikeForce – Priority ranking for cropland, high tunnel, and livestock practices to support program participation among underserved producers in rural communities;
  • Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership – Cropland and forestry practices to reduce wildfire threats, protect water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat in the Upper and Lower Cowpasture watersheds;
  • Conservation Activity Plans – Development of site-specific plans to recommend conservation practices that will address an identified natural resource need.

To be considered for a given Application Batching Period, an applicant MUST submit a signed and dated Conservation Program Application to the local NRCS service center by close of business on the application deadline. NRCS will not accept applications from individuals/entities without farm records established through USDA’s Farm Service Agency. The name, tax identification number, and address provided must also match IRS income tax records.

Applicants approved for financial assistance will receive a payment based on an NRCS determination of incurred costs and income sacrificed for practice implementation. If you previously applied for EQIP and were not funded, contact your local NRCS Service Center for more information.

Call or visit your local NRCS office to learn more about USDA program eligibility requirements and how EQIP and other Farm Bill programs can help you better protect and manage natural resources on your land. Visit for USDA service center locations. General program information is available on the NRCS Virginia website at