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1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, D.C. 20078-5500

(202) 205-8333

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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Overcoming Serious Threats to Natural Resources on Private Lands Via Technical, Financial, and Educational Assistance

Program Purpose

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) assists private landowners, helping them to address natural resource problems which threaten environmental quality. Cost share is a proven means of overcoming landowner reluctance to make long term investments in public goods. First, EQIP compensates landowners for the lack of market incentive to invest in public goods, such as watershed and wildlife protection. Second, it encourages landowners to make long term investments in maintaining the natural resource base (particularly land management practices capable of arresting or reversing damage to environmentally sensitive areas).

The program targets watersheds, regions, and areas of special environmental sensitivity or other areas facing significant soil, water or related natural resources concerns. By encouraging voluntary landowner participation in these areas, EQIP supports the development and implementation of conservation plans in critical areas. Developed in cooperation with professional resource managers, the plans encompass both scientific management principles, and landowner objectives.

Program Activities

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)  representatives in each state are responsible for establishing the particular conservation practices which EQIP supports on a state by state basis. However, EQIP generally supports a wide variety of activities: the establishment of permanent covers, windbreaks, grazing protection, and various water quality protection systems. Forestry practices which are generally supported include tree planting, forest stand improvement, site preparation for natural regeneration and forest stand analysis leading to better forest management.


Approval of EQIP assistance is based on the potential environmental benefit which result from the protection. Following plan approval by NRCS, and project implementation by landowners, the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) will reimburse landowners for a pre-arranged cost share amount. The program is available to all non-federal landowners, including native American tribes. On an annual basis, at least 50% of the EQIP allocation will be assigned to livestock related projects; the remaining 50% of the funding is designated for multi-resource management opportunities.

Program Administration and Informational Contacts

The NRCS and the Farm Service Administration (FSA) administer the program. NRCS is responsible for establishing program policies, procedures and priorities, including the cost-share and incentive payment limits and the eligibility of specific practices. FSA is responsible for the administrative processes and procedures for applications, contracting and financial matters, including program allocation and accounting.

Natural Resources Conservation Service link


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 Last Modified: Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 02:19 PM CST