Skip Navigation

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

EQIP PhotoHow EQIP Works

Financial Assistance Payments Are Made On Completed Practices

Payments are made on completed practices or activities identified in an EQIP contract that meet NRCS standards. Payment rates are set each fiscal year and are attached to the EQIP contract when it is approved. Payment rates for each conservation practice can be found at each NRCS State Programs website.

Accepting Applications

EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis, however, NRCS establishes application "cut-off" or submission deadline dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications.  

EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers and submitted applications may be considered or evaluated in multiple funding pool opportunities.  The following document describes how to apply for Farm Bill programs or visit the following website: Get started with NRCS national page

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit

To apply for EQIP contact your local service center

Applicants Must:

Control or own eligible land.

Comply with adjusted gross income imitation (AGI) provisions.

Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements.

Develop a NRCS EQIP plan of operations.

Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.


Agricultural producers and owners of 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.

2018 Farm Bill EQIP Updates

Historically underserved (HU) participants are eligible for advance payments to help offset costs related to purchasing materials or contracting through EQIP. HU participants may elect to receive an advance of not less than 50 percent of the EQIP conservation practice payment amount. If the participant elects to receive the advance payment, the funds must be expended within 90 days of receiving the advance.

The 2018 Farm Bill expanded eligibility regarding with whom NRCS can enter into an EQIP contract. NRCS may enter into EQIP contracts with water management entities when they are supporting a water conservation or irrigation efficiency project. These entities are defined as State, irrigation district, ground water management district, acequia, land grant-merced, or similar entity.

The 2018 Farm Bill requires a national 10 percent of mandatory program funding be targeted towards source water protection.  States will identify priority source water protection areas (SWPA) and may offer increased incentives and higher payment rates for practices that address water quality and/or water quantity. 

Beginning in 2020, States may provide increased payment rates for high-priority practices. In consultations with the State Technical Committee, State Conservationists may designate up to 10 practices to be eligible for increased payments. Eligible high-priority practices include those that address specific causes of ground or surface water impairment relating to excessive nutrients, address the conservation of water to advance drought mitigation and declining aquifers, meets other environmental priorities and other priority resource concerns identified in habitat or other area restoration plans, or is geographically targeted to address a natural resource concern in a specific watershed.


Fiscal Year 2022 Top High Priority Practices

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized increased payment rates for certain high-priority practices and increased payment rates for practices that address source water protection

Mississippi is proposing the following EQIP practices for increased payment rates capped at 90%:

  1. Cover Crop (340) – grasses, legumes, and forbs planted for seasonal vegetative cover resulting in many possible conservation benefits.

  2. Residue Management (329) – limiting soil disturbance to manage the amount, orientation and distribution of crop and plant residue on the soil surface year around.

  3. Riparian Forest Buffer (391) – an area of predominantly trees and/or shrubs located adjacent to and up-gradient from watercourses or water bodies, such as streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and wetlands.

  4. Well Decommissioning (351) – the sealing and permanent closure of an inactive, abandoned, or unusable water or monitoring well.

  5. Riparian Herbaceous Cover (390) – grasses, grass-like plants and forbs that are tolerant of intermittent flooding or saturated soils and that are established or managed in the transitional zone between terrestrial and aquatic habitats.

  6. Forage and Biomass Planting (512) – establishing, reestablishing, or interseeding adapted and/or compatible species, or cultivars of herbaceous species suitable for pasture, hay, or biomass production.

  7. Field Border (386) – a strip of permanent vegetation established at the edge or around the perimeter of a field.  The primary purpose is to provide early successional habitat buffers for wildlife to provide food, nesting cover and escape cover for quail and other upland birds in cropland areas. 

  8. Filter Strip (393) – a strip or area of herbaceous vegetation that removes contaminants from overland flow.  They are established where environmentally sensitive areas need to be protected from sediment, other suspended solids, and dissolved contaminants in runoff.


EQIP Incentive Contracts

The 2018 Farm Bill introduced EQIP incentive contracts to expand resource benefits to producers through incentive practices such as cover crops, transition to resource conserving crop rotations and precision agriculture technologies along with a similarly broad suite of incentive practices for ranchers and non-industrial private forest operators.  Every region within a State will have identified high-priority areas and each of these areas will target up to three priority resource concerns by land use.  In addition to the payment for practice implementation, incentive contracts offer annual payments to address operations and maintenance costs as well as foregone income. EQIP incentive contracts can be a stepping stone for producers between EQIP classic and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts.

You can visit the 2018 Farm Bill Programs page for more information about other NRCS conservation opportunities.

How to Apply

The best way to learn if EQIP is a good fit for you is by contracting 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. 

National and State Priorities

The following national priorities, consistent with statutory resources that include soil, water, wildlife, air quality, and related natural resource concerns, may be used in EQIP implementation:

  1. Reductions of non-point 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 operation
  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

Fiscal Year 2022 EQIP Deadlines

The EQIP application deadline was announced on September 21, 2021. Applications for EQIP and all NRCS financial assistance programs are accepted on a continuous basis with specific sign-up deadlines being established to rank, contract and fund qualified tracts of land. The deadline to apply to be considered in the EQIP General sign-up is October 22, 2021.

Applications received after October 22, 2021 will be accepted and evaluated for future funding in Fiscal Year 2022.

To apply for EQIP, contact your local service center and complete the appropriate forms to get started with NRCS. If you want to make improvements to the farmland or ranch that you own or lease, NRCS can offer certain financial assistance programs to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. Learn how here.

FY 2022 EQIP Payment Schedule

Translations of NRCS-CPA-1200 and EQIP-CIC Program

EQIP-CIC Appendix Spanish

EQIP-CIC Appendix Chinese

NRCS-CPA-1200 Chinese

NRCS-CPA-1200B Chinese

NRCS-CPA-1200 C Continuation Chinese

NRCS-CPA-1200 Hmong

NRCS-CPA-1200B Hmong

NRCS-CPA-1200 C Continuation Hmong

NRCS-CPA-1200 Spanish

NRCS-CPA-1200B Spanish

NRCS-CPA-1200 C Continuation Spanish



Jason Keenan, Acting Assistant State Conservationist (Programs)

Nicholas Williams, Resource Conservationist (EQIP)