Skip Navigation

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in Wisconsin

equip banner

From weather to pests, each American farmer faces a unique set of challenges. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural and forestry producers 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, and improved or created wildlife habitat.

Benefits

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 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.

Program at a Glance

To get started, NRCS first works one-on-one with you to develop a conservation plan that meets your goals and vision for the land. This becomes a roadmap for which conservation practices best meet your needs. 

Financial assistance covers part of the costs from implementing conservation practices. NRCS offers about 200 practices depending on where your land is located. These practices are geared towards working farms, ranches and forests and provide producers with many options for conservation. See a list of practices.  

How to Apply

The best way to learn if EQIP is a good fit for you is by contacting your local NRCS office. If you choose to move forward, your local NRCS conservationist will guide you through applying for the program. 

Applications are ranked, and if yours is funded, NRCS will offer you an EQIP contract to receive financial assistance for the cost of implementing practices.  Payment rates for conservation practices are reviewed and set each fiscal year. More information on this process is available on our How Do I Apply webpage.

Popular Practices

covercrops button foreststand button prescribedgrazing button irrigation button

Special Initiative Opportunities

farmstead thumbnail

Statewide-Farmstead Initiative
(Apply by May 17, 2019 for 2019 Funding)

NRCS helps livestock producers improve nutrient handling and clean water separation by implementing practices supporting manure storage, feedlot and barnyard runoff, and clean water diversion.

storm-small photo

2018 Storm Relief
(Apply by November 16, 2018 for 2019 funding)

Unprecedented rainfall and storm damage during the summer of 2018 severely impacted Wisconsin agriculture working lands. Wisconsin NRCS is conducting a special EQIP signup to address conservation practices damaged or destroyed, as well as new resource concerns resulting from the 2018 storms.

 

Local Bee pollinator

Honey Bee Practices
(Apply by November 16, 2018 for 2019 funding)

Funding is available for conservation practices and forage plantings (cover crops, pasture, pollinator seeding mixes) on ag land or wood land (not bees or honey production). Contact your local service center to sign up!

MRBI river Mississippi

Landscape Initiatives
(Apply by May 17, 2019 for 2019 Funding)

Rainfall simulator

Soil Health
(Apply by May 17, 2019 for 2019 Funding)

Funding is available to improve soil health through sound principles and systems that include no-till, cover crop, diversifying the crop rotation, and managing nutrients and pesticide applications. Improving soil health of the soil allows for improved soil organic matter, increased water infiltration, as well as better profits and crop yields.

Organic Transition

Organic Initiative   
(Apply by November 16, 2018 for 2019 funding)

Funding is available for certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic production. Some individual practices have higher payments, in recognition of the higher cost of organic seeds/fertilizers in an organic system.

Radiant Heater

Energy Initiative
(Apply by November 16, 2018 for 2019 funding)

High tunnel

High Tunnel System
(Apply by November 16, 2018 for 2019 funding)

 

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 resource need, such as nutrient management or a herbicide resistance issue. Typically, these plans are specific to certain kinds of land uses, such as Transitioning to Organic Operations, Grazing Land, Forest Land, or Farmsteads. A CAP can also address a specific resource need, such as nutrient management. With a CAP plan, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices, such as pipeline and watering facilities to implement a prescribed grazing plan.

For more information about CAP's, click here. 

Eligible producers may apply at their local NRCS office. EQIP payments are made directly to the program participants for development of a CAP. These CAP plans may only be developed by an NRCS-certified Technical Service Provider (TSP). To find an NRCS-certified TSP, search the TSP website.

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:

  1. 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
  2. Conservation of ground and surface water resources
  3. 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
  4. Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land
  5. Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat
  6. 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
  7. Biological carbon storage and sequestration

In addition, Wisconsin has identified the following priorities:

  1. Soil Erosion
  2. Soil Quality
  3. Water Quality
  4. Plant Degradation
  5. Energy

More Information

If you want to learn more about EQIP, you can contact your local NRCS office. Your NRCS conservationist will visit you and evaluate the natural resources on your land. NRCS will then present a variety of conservation practices or system alternatives to help you address those concerns or management goals to improve or protect the natural resource conditions on your land.

Once you have chosen the right conservation practices for your land, you may be offered an EQIP contract to receive financial assistance for the cost of implementing certain practices.  Payment rates for conservation practices are reviewed and set each fiscal year. 

State EQIP Contact: Ryan Gerlich, 608-662-4422 x227 ryan.gerlich@usda.gov

State Organic Initiative Contact: Eric Hurley, 608-662-4422 x258 eric.hurley@usda.gov