The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), reauthorized under the 2008 Farm Bill, is designed to reduce soil erosion and water quality problems associated with agricultural operations, as well as enhance wildlife habitat on private agricultural lands. Under EQIP, eligible landowners can receive cost-shares to help them conduct a variety of conservation practices that will achieve the above goals. See the USDA NRCS EQIP page for current updates.

EQIP offers financial, educational, and technical assistance in installing structural, vegetative, and management practices recommended in 5- to 10-year contracts for most agricultural uses.

Priority Areas

Geographic priority areas have been eliminated.

Contracts

EQIP offers 5- to 10-year contracts that provide incentive payments and cost sharing for conservation practices called for in the specific site plan.  Contract applications are accepted throughout the year.

The NRCS conducts an evaluation of the environmental benefits offered by the producer.  These offers are then ranked according to criteria developed with the advice of the local work group.  The FSA County Committee approves funding for the highest priority applications.  The EQIP strives to maximize environmental benefits per dollar spent. 

Payments

Cost sharing may cover up to 75% of the costs of certain conservation practices that are necessary to improve and maintaining the health of the natural resources in the area.  These payments may be provided for up to 3 years to encourage producers to carry out management practices they may not otherwise use without program incentive. 

Up to 90% cost-share will be allowed for beginning or limited resource farmers and ranchers.

Funding

Greater funding will be provided for EQIP through 2007. EQIP will provide an overall payment limitation of $450,000 per producer, regardless of the number of farms or contracts over the life of the current Farm Bill.

EQIP Eligibility & Contacts

Eligibility is limited to persons engaged in livestock or agricultural production.  Eligible land includes:

  • cropland
  • rangeland
  • pasture
  • forest land 
  • and other farm or ranch lands where the program applies

For program contact information, check the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service entry in the Directory.