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Conservation Innovation Grants

Image: No-till FarmingEnvironmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding is available to producers in 12 counties (Adams, Benton, Columbia, Douglas, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Klickitat, Lincoln, Spokane, Walla Walla, Whitman) to implement conservation practices such as, no-till/strip-till, direct seeding, mulch till, cover crops or conservation crop rotation that will improve soil health and sequester carbon.

Producers who receive an EQIP contract under this program will also have the opportunity to work with Applied Ecological Services (AES), a private organization, to participate in a study to measure and quantify soil carbon on their fields. Participation with AES is not a requirement to apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

About the CIG Project

Applied Ecological Services (AES) received a 3-year National Conservation Innovative Grant (CIG) to develop a large-scale agricultural carbon project in partnership with Shepherd’s Grain members and surrounding farmers in the Palouse and Columbia Plateau region.

Participating producers provide access to their land for AES to sample soils and inventory farming practices and management. The project seeks to demonstrate the value of improved agricultural practices that increase soil health and provide a roadmap for developing large-scale, high-quality, and low-cost soil carbon transactions. The goal of this CIG project is to provide knowledge and understanding to producers about soil health and soil carbon levels in their fields and opportunities to monetize and market carbon credits. For more information about the CIG project click on this link, PALOUSE SOIL CARBON PROJECT FAQ.

EQIP Practices

NRCS will provide technical and financial assistance to producers that want to adopted No-Till/Strip Till or Direct Seeding or want to install conservation practices that will improve soil health. Conservation Practices available through this program include:

  • Residue Management, No-Till/Strip Till/Direct Seed
  • Residue Management, Seasonal
  • Residue and Tillage Management, Mulch Till
  • Mulching
  • Cover Crop
  • Conservation Crop Rotation

Growers may not receive EQIP payments for conservation practices they have already adopted.


To participate in this program producers must be located in the following counties, Adams, Benton, Columbia, Douglas, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Klickitat, Lincoln, Spokane, Walla Walla, Whitman. To be eligible for the program, applicants must be farmers or ranchers who earn a minimum agricultural income and meet other EQIP program requirements. For more detailed information, go to the EQIP Application Process FAQ.

How to Apply

To participate in the program, growers must work with NRCS to identify and plan conservation measures. NRCS works with farmers and ranchers to develop a conservation plan that includes a detailed description of the conservation activities and practices they want to implement on their land. Applications for the program can be obtained at your local NRCS office.

Funding Selection and Priorities

Priorities for EQIP funding are based on identified natural resource needs that are consistent with state and national EQIP priorities. Applications that best address natural resources as described in the ranking criteria are prioritized for funding. 

The document below requires Microsoft Excel or  Adobe Acrobat Reader.

EQIP National, State and local ranking questions - COMING SOON!

2013 EQIP National Greenhouse Gas Practice Payment List (XLS, 42 KB)
2013 EQIP National Greenhouse Gas Practice Payment List – Historically Underserved (XLS, 10 KB)

2013 State Screening Criteria Worksheet (PDF, 117 KB)
2013 State Ranking Tool (PDF, 119 KB)
2013 Local Ranking Tool (PDF, 96 KB)

More Information

Refer to the National NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants webpage.

Jeff Harlow
NRCS Assistant State Conservationist - Programs