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.
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: Get started with NRCS national page
The 2020 EQIP APPLICATION DEADLINE IS MARCH 13, 2020.
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.
Control or own eligible land
Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions
Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements
Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations
Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.
Applicants are responsible for completing and filing all application and eligibility paperwork as required. If funded, participants are required to sign a contract and agree to implement the planned conservation practices to NRCS standards and specifications as scheduled.
Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource, and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
The 2018 Farm Bill continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns of Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, Limited Resource, and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers. It provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (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 these 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.
How EQIP Funds are Prioritized in Minnesota
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
Decision Making Process for EQIP
Input from Outside Groups, Agencies, and Citizens: The list of eligible practices in Minnesota, payment rates and limits, eligible resource concerns, and state scoring criteria are developed based on input and recommendations from the State Technical Committee (STC). The STC is made up of representatives from various agribusinesses, producer groups, conservation organizations, and federal, state, and tribal government agency representatives.
The Local Work Group process and scoring criteria, are based on input from the counties in the Local Work Groups (LWG).
The priorities set at the state and county level are those that the STC and LWG respectively determined were of the greatest need and would have the greatest positive environmental impact. The scoring process at both the state and local level was developed in order to select those projects that would provide the greatest environmental benefit, and therefore provide the greatest public good.
Fiscal Year 2020 EQIP Deadline
Applications submitted by (March 13, 2020), will be evaluated to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2020. Applications received after that date will be accepted and evaluated for future rounds of funding.
Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease? NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. Learn how here.
How To Apply For EQIP
Complete EQIP Application At Your Local NRCS Field Office
Download and complete the EQIP application form (Form NRCS-CPA-1200), to establish or update "farm records" with the Farm Service Agency, and submit all other required information to the local NRCS field office prior to application deadlines.
The following costlist shows Conservation Activity Plans (CAPs), conservation practices and practice scenarios that may be offered for 2020 EQIP. Keep in mind, not all CAPs, practices and/or practice scenarios are available in every funding pool. Contact your local NRCS Field Office for additional details.
A priority of EQIP is for the promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation. The Wildlife Habitat Conservation funding pool is available to producers who will restore, develop, or enhance wildlife habitat.
EQIP funding is available for the development of a Conservation Activity Plan (CAP). A CAP can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need. Typically, these plans are specific to certain kinds of land use such as transitioning to organic operations, grazing land, forest land, or can also address a specific resource need such a plan for management of nutrients.
The Organic Initiative provides financial assistance to help implement conservation practices for organic producers or those transitioning to organic. The Initiative addresses natural resource concerns and also helps growers meet requirements related to National Organic Program (NOP) requirements.
The purpose of the High Tunnel System for Crops is to assist producers to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner. The practice has the potential to assist producers to address resource concerns by improving plant quality, improving soil quality, and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport.
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.