TheEnvironmental 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.
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, and, address the natural resource concerns. Together we develop a roadmap outlining which conservation practices would achieve both objectives.
NRCS offers over 200 conservation solutions depending on where your land is located. These practices are geared towards working farms, ranches, and forests providing producers with many options for conservation.
Financial assistance thru the EQIP program covers part of the costs to implement conservation methods.
The best way to learn if EQIP is a good fit for your operation, is to contact yourlocal service centerwith a resource concern you would like to address. If you choose to move forward, your local NRCS Conservationist will guide you through the application process.
Applications are ranked based on the state’s priorities. If yours is funded, NRCS will offer you an EQIP contract to receive financial assistance for the costs involved to implement conservation practices. More information on this process is available here.
If you are a Beginning Farmer or Rancher, you may also be available for an advance payment option.
In addition, approved participants, through consulting with their NRCS Conservation Planner, must develop an EQIP Plan of Operations that addresses at least one natural resource concern for the state.
Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.
Eligible practices, payment rates, prioritization of resource concerns, and ranking criteria are developed based on input and recommendations from both the State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) and the Local Work Groups. The STAC is made up of representatives from various agribusinesses, producer groups, conservation organizations, federal, state, and tribal government agency representatives as well as individual agriculture producers.
Local Work Groups are led by local Soil and Water Conservation Districts found in each county and watershed across Minnesota. The Local Work Groups are made up of representatives from various agribusinesses, producer groups, conservation organizations, local governments as well as federal, state, and tribal government agency representatives. They are also open to individual agriculture producers and stakeholders. These groups provide NRCS with “Locally Led” input needed to help us set priorities set at the state and local levels.
NRCS provides financial assistance to selected conservation practices. The availability and amount of financial assistance can vary between states. Download the Minnesota payment schedules to see which activities quality and how much financial assistance is available.
PRAIRIE POTHOLE WATER QUALITY AND WILDLIFE INITIATIVE (PPWQWI)
SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED, BEGINNING, AND LIMITED RESOURCE FARMERS/RANCHERS, VETERAN FARMERS
The 2018 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.
Minnesota 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 Historically Underserved Producers web page for the NRCS definition of the Historically Underserved: NRCS Historically Underserved Producer Definitions
If you want to learn more about EQIP, you can contact your local NRCS office. Your NRCS conservationist will visit you and evaluate the natural resources on your land. NRCS will then present a variety of conservation practices or system alternatives to help you address those concerns or management goals to improve or protect the natural resource conditions on your land.
Once you have chosen the right conservation practices for your land, you may be offered an EQIP contract to receive financial assistance for the cost of implementing certain practices. Payment rates for conservation practices are reviewed and set each fiscal year.