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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

he Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural and forestry producers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits.

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. 

Delaware State EQIP Program Information

Staff Contact: Brooke Jones, Farm Bill Specialist
Phone: (302) 362-7075
email: brooke.jones@usda.gov

EQIP - 2021

Farmers can apply now for technical and financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

The first EQIP application cutoff date for fiscal year 2021 is December 4, 2020.

Additional application cutoff dates are scheduled for the first Friday of each month until May 7, 2021. NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off deadlines.

Producers with applications in before the first application cut-off date will have a higher chance of application approval as funding is limited.

What's New in EQIP?

  • Advance payment opportunities now exist for veteran agricultural producers
  • Advance payments for socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes and veterans were raised from 30 percent to 50 percent
  • Payment limitations are set at $450,000 with no ability to waive

Benefits

Eligible program participants receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices, or activities like conservation planning, that address natural resource concerns on their land. Payments are made to participants after conservation practices and activities identified in an EQIP plan of operations are implemented. Contracts can last up to ten years in duration.

 

National and State Resource Priorities

National Priorities

EQIP can provide financial and technical assistance to plan and design such measures as, but not limited to, the following.

  • Grazing management: fencing, stockwater systems, range and pasture planting
  • Nutrient management: manure storage structures, planned nutrient applications, soil testing
  • Pest management: crop and pest monitoring activities
  • Erosion control: grade control structures, diversions, water and sediment control basins
  • Wildlife habitat enhancement: stream buffers, upland wildlife habitat establishment

These and the many other measures included in EQIP can help producers accomplish a variety of operational goals, which may include:

  • Improvements to the long-term productivity and sustainability of an agricultural operation;
  • Improved condition of crops and forage for livestock;
  • Reduced costs for fuel, labor, fertilizers and pesticides;
  • Energy efficient systems and field operations; and
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements.

State Priorities

  1. Reduction of non-point source pollutants including nutrients, sediment, and pesticides in impaired watersheds consistent with TMDL’s as well as the reduction of groundwater contamination.
  • Agricultural Waste Management Systems - Nutrients, Sediments
  • Integrated Crop Management Systems - Nutrients, Pesticides
  • Planned Grazing Management Systems - Nutrients, Sediments
  1. Conservation of ground and surface water resources
  • Irrigation Water Management Systems - Water conservation
  1. Reduction of emissions such as particulate matter and volatile organic compounds that contribute to air quality impairment.
  • Agricultural Waste Management Systems - Volatile organic compounds
  • Poultry House Windbreak Management Systems - Particulate matter
  1. Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from erodible land.
  • Erosion Control Systems - Sediments
  1. Promotion of at-risk species habitat recovery
  • Biodiversity Management Systems - Habitat recovery

New! Delaware FY2022 Source Water Protection Priority Areas

Eligibility

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 an advance payment of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their EQIP contract.

Participant Responsibilities

  • 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.

Accepting Applications

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: 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.

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

The 2018 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)

For definitions of socially disadvantaged, beginning farmer, limited resource farmer and military veteran farmers, please click here.

How to Apply

Visit your local USDA Service Center to apply or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.

Delaware Local USDA Service Centers

NRCS will help eligible producers develop an EQIP plan of operations, which will become the basis of the EQIP contract.

EQIP applications will be ranked based on a number of factors, including the environmental benefits and cost effectiveness of the proposal.

EQIP Application

2021 EQIP Application - CCC 1200 (52 KB)

2021 Payment Schedules (NEW!)

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted

Detailed EQIP Information

To see more detailed program information about EQIP, visit the EQIP program homepage.

There are several National EQIP Initiatives available:  On-Farm Energy, Organic and Seasonal High Tunnel.