NRCS offers voluntary programs to eligible landowners and agricultural producers to provide financial and technical assistance to help manage natural resources in a sustainable manner. Through these programs the agency approves contracts to provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns or opportunities to help save energy, improve soil, water, plant, air, animal and related resources on agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land.
NRCS accepts applications for its programs on a continuous basis. It is recommended that producers interested in applying for conservation programs apply at their earliest convenience. Applications are selected for funding on a competitive basis and beginning the process early can lead to a more complete application.
Cut-off dates, when received applications are ranked and considered for funding are generally announced at least 30 days in advance.
Our financial assistance programs include the following:
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance—the higher the performance, the higher the payment.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers in order 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 or improved or created wildlife habitat.
The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) was a voluntary conservation initiative that provided financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land to conserve surface and ground water and improve water quality.
The Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) was a voluntary conservation initiative that enabled the use of certain conservation programs along with resources of eligible partners to provide financial and technical assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest lands.
The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) was a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, and Indian land. It has been folded into EQIP.