Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)


About EQIP

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The program’s mission is to promote the compatibility of agricultural production, forest management, and environmental conservation. Financial and technical assistance are provided to enrolled landowners to implement conservation practices (structural and management) on eligible lands. Eligible lands include cropland, non-industrial private forestland, pastureland, ranchland, and other types of farm land.

Applicants for an EQIP contract must control or own the eligible land, comply with Adjusted Gross Income limitation provisions, must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements of the Farm Bill, and must develop an EQIP plan of operations.

EQIP contracts extend from one to ten years. Payments under EQIP are made after conservation practices are implemented. Beginning and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes, socially disadvantaged, and veterans are eligible for an increased payment rate and may be eligible for advanced payment of up to 50% for purchase of conservation materials and services included in the EQIP contract.

EQIP  Wetland Conservation Practices

Examples of EQIP conservation pertaining to wetlands are wetland restoration, enhancement, and creation; wetland and upland wildlife habitat management; forest stand improvement; prescribed burning; riparian herbaceous cover; grassed waterways; integrated pest management; water harvesting catchment, and restoration and management of rare and declining habitats.

EQIP by the Numbers

According to the USDA Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act report, in 2012 alone over 2.7 million acres of land in Texas was enrolled in the EQIP program. The 2014 Farm Bill folded portions of the former Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) into EQIP, created extended advanced payment options to veteran agricultural producers, raised the advanced payment portion to 50%, and limited payments to $450,000 with no ability to waive.

Program Page


A valuable subset of the EQIP program is the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. CIG provides grants to agriculturalists who voluntarily develop and adopt conservation approaches and technologies. CIG grants are competitive and can be awarded to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, Tribes, and individuals. Examples of past CIG grant projects are implementation of computer-controlled automated sprinkler systems, and development of quantification tools that support ecosystem services markets. CIG grants have a 1 to 1 matching funding requirement.

Program Page

Getting Started:


  • Requests for EQIP program assistance can be made at your local USDA service center.

USDA Service Center Locator

  • Requests are prioritized based on NRCS and local conservation district measures to ensure fair and equitable service.


  • CIG is announced periodically at both the national and state level. Recently, the Secretary of Agriculture accepted proposals for CIG projects at the national level.  However, pre-proposals were due 2/24/2015 and application is now closed.   New CIG funding announcements can be found on the Secretary of Agriculture’s Agency News Release page.
  • State Level CIG announcement was last announced for Texas in 2013.  New CIG funding announcements at the State level can be found at the Texas NRCS New Release page.  User can also sign up for email updates from Texas NRCS to follow the latest news announcement for funding.top

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