The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. Through EQIP, farmers and ranchers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land. EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers without discrimination or bias.
Applications submitted by December 15, 2017 will be evaluated to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2017. Applications received after that date will be accepted and evaluated for future rounds of funding. Applications for Conservation Activity Plans may be submitted, accepted and considered for funding at any time pending available funding and program eligibility requirements.
New for FY18EQIP: Applicants must meet EQIP participant eligibility requirements by January 26, 2018 for an application submitted by December 15, 2017. This means applicants must meet eligibility for:
Establish Farm Records with FSA
Adjusted Gross Income requirements
Entity Participants (using an EIN) must obtain a DUNS and successfully register in SAM.gov
Applicants who do not meet these requirements by January 26, 2018 will not be considered for funding in the FY18 application period. Applicants should file the appropriate forms to establish eligibility as soon as possible after submitting an application. Form NRCS-CPA-1200 Conservation Program Application contains more information about the forms necessary to file to establish eligibility. The necessary forms are available at your local USDA Service Center.
Certain eligibility requirements are self-certified on form NRCS-CPA-1200 (such as control of land and permission to install structural practices) and are not required to be substantiated by the January 26 deadline. However, these eligibility requirements must be verified before an application can be approved.
Get Started with NRCS- Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease? NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. Learn how here.
EQIP applications are accepted through a continuous sign-up process. NRCS encourages customers to apply at any time and periodically announces cutoff dates when applications are ranked for funding. EQIP is open to all eligible ag producers. The following document describes how to apply for Farm Bill programs.
NOTICE TO APPLICANTS: Starting a practice prior to written contract approval will result in the ineligibility of that practice for EQIP assistance unless a waiver has been approved (see 440-CPM, Part 512, Subpart E)
Notice: Starting a practice prior to written contract approval will result in the ineligibility of that practice for EQIP assistance unless a waiver has been approved.
Indiana is committed to reaching out to Historically Underserved individuals and groups. Historically Underserved applications receive higher payment rates in addition to being considered in high priority funding pools. Click on the Small & Limited and Beginning Farmers and Ranchers link for the NRCS definition of the Historically Underserved.
Agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland and Tribes are eligible to apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands.
Socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes and veterans are eligible for an increased payment rate and may receive advance payment of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract.
Control or own eligible land
Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions
Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements.
Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations
Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.
Applicants are responsible for completing and filing all application and eligibility paperwork as required. If funded, participants are required to sign a contract and agree to implement the planned conservation practices to NRCS standards and specifications as scheduled.
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 streamlined delivery of technical and financial assistance; improved programs and services; and flexibility in decision making (with most decisions made at the Tribal, State, or local level)
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:
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
Conservation of ground and surface water resources
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
Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land
Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat
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
Biological carbon storage and sequestration
In addition, Indiana has identified the following priorities:
Grazing management: fencing, stockwater systems, range and pasture planting
EQIP applications are competitively funded based on applicable screening criteria, highest application ranking score and available funds. Applications are considered in specific funding categories that “pool” similar ag operation types and geographic areas. This means that an application for conservation practices on cropland only compete with other cropland conservation applications. Certain conservation practices may only be available through each funding category. Refer to the 2016 EQIP Practice Information page to see if the practice you are interested in is offered through a fund category.
EQIP program and landscape initiatives provide statewide funding opportunities for specific national or state program priorities such as historically underserved applicants and wildlife habitat. An application may be eligible to be considered for funding under more than one funding category and should work with the local District Conservationist to determine which fund category to be considered under. Screening tools are required to be used to determine whether an application can be ranked under certain funding pools as well as for national program and landscape initiatives.
Explanation and Criteria
Screening and Ranking Criteria
This fund category divides Indiana into four geographic areas (NE, NW, SE, and SW). Contact your local field office to find out which geographic area your county falls under.
This category is for applications containing practices related to Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs) and manure management. A screening tool is used to prioritize applications in this funding category.
This fund category is available statewide. Applications must include practices related to specialty crops, truck crops, orchards, vineyards and other non-commodity crops. High Tunnel Systems are eligible for funding under this category.
This fund category is available statewide. This fund category is for applicants meeting the definition of Beginning Farmer/Rancher (BF/R) or Veteran Farmer/Ranchers (VF/R) who also meet the BFR definition. VFR participants receive higher priority for funding under this category.
This fund category is available statewide. This fund category is for applicants meeting the definition of Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher (SDF/R) or Veteran Farmer/Ranchers (VF/R) who also meet the BFR and SD definition. VFR participants receive higher priority for funding under this category.
This fund category is available statewide. Applications in this category must include at least one vegetation establishment practice with a seeding mix favorable to pollinator habitat and may not include conservation practices 314 Brush Management or 315 Herbaceous Weed Control (for invasive species treatment).
This category is only available for targeted GLRI watersheds identified for the initiative. A screening tool is required to be completed to be ranked in the GLRI Nearshore Health category. There is also a GLRI category to target invasive species. No screening tool is required for the GLRI Invasive Species category as long as the land is within the Great Lakes watershed.
This category is only available for targeted NWQI watersheds identified for the initiative. A screening tool is required to be completed to be ranked in this category.
NOT OFFERED IN 2018
National On-Farm Energy Initiative (NOEFI)
This fund category is available statewide. A screening tool is required to be completed to be ranked in this category. This initiative only offers assistance for 128 Conservation Activity Plans-Ag Energy Management Plans (AgEMPs) and certain energy conservation practices.
This fund category is available statewide. A screening tool is required to be completed to be ranked in this category. This initiative is further divided to rank certified organic operations and transitioning to organic operations separately. Producers exempt from certification are considered under the transitioning category. A self-certification sheet is required to be completed by the participant for this category.
Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Project – Oak Community Restoration
This fund category is available in the following counties: Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Crawford, Dubois, Floyd, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Orange, Owen, Perry. Putnam, Washington. This project targets forest land to improve conservation and restoration of oak communities.
This fund category is available statewide. The Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project is a multi-state effort focused on increasing monarch habitat on private lands through plantings of milkweed and nectaring forms as well as managing pesticide use in proximity to monarch habitat. A screening tool is used to prioritize applications in this fund category.
Working Lands for Wildlife 2.0 Northern Bobwhite in Working Grasslands
This category is available statewide on land which overlaps one of the Indiana DNR C.O.R.R.I.D.O.R.S. priority areas. The goal is to convert tall fescue and other non-native forages to native grasses and forbs and develop prescribed grazing plans to address the habitat needs of bobwhite quail and associated grassland/shrub land species.