Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Updated:12/2020

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns and deliver environmental benefits such as improved water and air quality, conserved ground and surface water, increased soil health and reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved or created wildlife habitat, and mitigation against drought and increasing weather volatility.

How It Works

This voluntary conservation programs helps producers make conservation work for them.  Together, NRCS and producers invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations.

Through EQIP, NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices.  Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations.  Through EQIP, you can voluntarily implement conservation practices, and NRCS co-invests in these practices with you.

Benefits

  • Reduction of contamination from agricultural sources, such as animal feeding operations.
  • Efficient utilization of nutrients, reducing input costs and reduction in nonpoint source pollution.
  • Increased soil health to help mitigate against increasing weather volatility and improved drought resiliency.

2018 Farm Bill EQIP Updates:

  • Historically underserved (HU) participants are eligible for advance payments to help offset costs related to purchasing materials or contracting through EQIP.  HU participants may elect to receive an advance of not less than 50 percent of the EQIP conservation practice payment amount. 
  • The 2018 Farm Bill expanded eligibility regarding with whom NRCS can enter into an EQIP contract.  
  • NRCS may enter into EQIP contracts with water management entities when they are supporting a water conservation or irrigation efficiency project.  
  • The 2018 Farm Bill requires a national 10 percent of mandatory program funding be targeted towards source water protection.  
  • Beginning in 2020, States may provide increased payment rates for high-priority practices.  In consultations with the State Technical Committee, State Conservationists may designate up to 10 practices to be eligible for increased payments.  

EQIP Incentive Contracts:

The 2018 Farm Bill introduced EQIP incentive contracts to expand resource benefits to producers through incentive practices such as cover crops, transition to resource conserving crop rotations and precision agriculture technologies along with a similarly broad suite of incentive practices for ranchers and non-industrial private forest operators.   In addition to the payment for practice implementation, incentive contracts offer annual payments to address operations and maintenance costs as well as foregone income.  EQIP incentive contracts can be a stepping stone for producers between EQIP classic and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts.

How To Get Started:

To learn more about EQIP, contact your local NRCS office. An 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. Please visit the Apply for EQIP page for more information on to how apply.

 

REMINDER: This listing is a free service of MaineLandCAN.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is not employed by or affiliated with the Maine Land Conservation Assistance Network, and the Network does not certify or guarantee their services. The reader must perform their own due diligence and use their own judgment in the selection of any professional.

 

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