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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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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, agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land. Applications for EQIP can be submitted to NRCS at any time. Dates are set periodically to rank applications for available funding.

Applying for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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: www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted. 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. Applicants must control or own eligible land, comply with adjusted gross income limitation provisions, be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements, and develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations. Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply. To apply for EQIP, contact your local service center.

EQIP is open to all eligible agricultural producers without discrimination or bias.  (Note: Statutory requirements, such as priority for veteran farmers or ranchers, are allowed preference.)

Special Initiative Opportunities


Landscape Initiatives

 

 

Honey Bee Initiative

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).

National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)

Red River Basin Initiative (RRBI)

Sage Grouse


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National Organic Initiative  

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.


Windmill Energy

National Energy Initiative

Energy efficient is one process that benefits a farm’s bottom line and helps lead the country toward energy independence, improves air quality, and enhances water conservation efforts.


High Tunnel

High Tunnel System


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Local North Dakota Initiatives

Contact your local NRCS Service Office for more information

  • Animal Feeding
  • Irrigation
  • Forestry
  • Drainage Water Management and Wildlife

 

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. North Dakota 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.

  • Beginning Farmer Ranking Criteria
  • Socially Disadvantaged Ranking Criteria

Conservation Plans

Program applications are required to be supported by an NRCS approved conservation plan which provides documentation of the practices that could be used to address natural resource concerns.  NRCS will develop and provide program applicants with an approved a conservation plan.  Producers may also apply for financial assistance to hire Technical Service Providers (TSP) to develop specialty plans called Conservation Activity Plans (CAP) to address certain land use activities or specific resource needs on your land.

NRCS works with the producer to develop a plan of operations that:

  1. Identifies the appropriate conservation practice or activities needed to address identified natural resource concerns on agricultural lands.

Producers may also use NRCS certified Technical Service Providers (TSP) for technical assistance needed for certain eligible activities, services and the development of Conservation Activity Plans.  For more information about TSP services, contact your local NRCS office or visit 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, North Dakota has identified the following priorities:

  • Grasslands Health
  • Soil Health
  • Water Quality and Quantity
  • Wildlife habitat enhancement

Get Started Today for 2019 Funding

Applications will be accepted throughout the year.

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

NRCS will help eligible producers develop an EQIP plan of operations, which will become the basis of the EQIP contract. Download the NRCS Conservation Program Application here (PDF; 267 KB)

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

North Dakota Program Contacts

Todd C. Hagel
Assistant State Conservationist (Programs)
Phone: (701) 530.2004
Fax: (701) 530-2110

Email: Todd.hagel@nd.usda.gov

Tracy L. Dove
Resource Conservationist (Programs)
Phone: (701) 530.2002
Email: tracy.dove@nd.usda.gov