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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

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.


EQIP applications are accepted throughout the year.

Sign-up includes the funding pools described in the table below on this page.

  • EQIP General
  • State and National Initiatives
  • Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

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

Popular Practices

Cover CropsForest Stand ImprovementPrescribed GrazingIrrigation

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; new-to-NRCS producers will find specific guidance for establishing farm records (Farm & Tract Number), initiating the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Compliance evaluation, updating Adjusted Gross Income, etc.

EQIP Funding Pools

Some documents referenced below will be coming soon.

No-till tractor

EQIP General

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, increased soil health and reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved or created wildlife habitat, and mitigation against increasing weather volatility.

Applications from Historically Underserved Farmers & Ranchers, under EQIP, are considered within specific sub-account fund pools.

Applicants may use EQIP to develop written Conservation Activity Plans (CAP) with a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP).

Organic Growers or those transitioning to organic may apply to this EQIP sub-account. Applicants must be registered with the RIDEM Division of Agriculture.

State and National Initiatives

Oyster reef restoration

Oyster Reef Restoration State Initiative

The Oyster Reef Restoration Initiative provides financial assistance to improve water quality and encourage the development of wildlife habitat by implementing conservation practices that create oyster reefs.

New England cottontail

Working Lands for Wildlife New England Cottontail Rabbit Initiative

A priority of EQIP is for the promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation. The New England cottontail rabbit funding pool is available to Rhode Island producers who will restore, develop, or enhance wildlife habitat for the New England cottontail rabbit.

Radiant heating system

On-Farm Energy National Initiative

The On-Farm Energy Initiative enables the producer to identify ways to conserve energy on the farm through two types of Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP) for headquarters and/or for landscape, also known as an on-farm energy audit (headquarters and/or landscape); and by providing financial and technical assistance to help the producer implement various measures and practices recommended in these on-farm energy audits.

Scituate Reservoir and woodland

Source Water Initiative

Conservation planning

NEW FOR 2021: CNMP Implementation State Initiative

Producers with completed Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan who wish to apply for EQIP funds towards implementing conservation practices from that CNMP may apply to this EQIP sub-account. Applicants must provide a copy of the approved Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan.

> FY2021 RI CNMP Implementation Ranking Pool Questions

soil with grass and clover

NEW FOR 2021: Soil Health State Initiative

As a living ecosystem, the health of a farm’s most basic building block is key to producing quality food and fiber. The Soil Health Initiative focuses on providing farmers with the opportunity to have their farm’s soil health evaluated with Soil Testing and development of management plan. The Soil Health Initiative funding pool is available to Rhode Island producers who want to build the health and sustainability from their farm’s dynamic, living foundation.

> Soil Health Simplified (USDA NRCS)

> FY2021 RI Soil Health Initiative Ranking Pool Questions

> Soil Health: How to Use Cover Crops when Facing Many Production Challenges

> Soil Health: How to Take a Seemingly Impossible Path to Healthy Soil

Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

Oak leaves

RCPP - Accelerating the Pace in Southern New England Heritage Forests

Hands holding soil

RCPP - Enhancing Soil Health

Healthy soils are the cornerstone to sustainable food production and clean waters, and this project intends to convey the importance of healthy soils while assisting RI agricultural producers with the first steps toward improving their farm's soil health.

woodcock in grass

RCPP – Young Forest Initiative

compost in hand

RCPP - Farm Plan Implementation

 

In addition to the application, you will need to file several forms to certify that you are eligible to participate in federal programs. Please contact your local NRCS office for assistance with these forms.

EQIP application materials

Additional forms you may need