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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Number: 10.912
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: Natural Resources Conservation Service

Program Information 

Program Number/Title (010):
10.912 Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Federal Agency (030):
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture
Authorization (040):
The Food Security Act of 1985
This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date., Executive Order Executive Order , Title XII, Part Subtitle D, Public Law 99- 198, 16 U.S.C 3830.
Objectives (050):
Promotes agricultural production, forest management, and environmental quality as compatible national goals and optimizes environmental benefits on eligible land with farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial private forest land owners. It is a voluntary program using partnerships with local, State, Tribal and Federal agencies, producer associations, and nonprofit organizations to provide flexible technical and financial assistance to install and maintain conservation practices include those related to organic production, that sustain food and fiber production. The purpose of this program is achieved through the implementation of structural, vegetative, and land management practices on eligible land. This program is funded through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). NRCS provides overall program administration and management.
Types of Assistance (060):
Uses and Use Restrictions (070):
Technical assistance is provided for conservation planning, design and implementation of conservation practices for eligible participants. Financial assistance is provided for implementation of structural, and land management practices. Cost-share payments may be made to implement one or more eligible structural or vegetative practices. Incentive payments can be made to implement one or more land management practices. Sixty percent of the funding available for technical assistance, cost-share payments, incentive payments, shall be targeted at practices relating to livestock production.
Eligibility Requirements (080)
Applicant Eligibility (081):
Agricultural producers who face serious threats to soil, water, and related natural resources, or who need assistance with complying with Federal and State environment laws. A participant may be an owner, landlord, operator, or tenant of eligible agricultural lands or non-industrial forestlands. Limited resource producers, small-scale producers, social disadvantaged individuals, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, Alaska natives, and Pacific Islanders are encouraged to apply.
Beneficiary Eligibility (082):
To be eligible the agricultural producers must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions and in compliance with the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) payment limitations.
Credentials/Documentation (083):
Evidence that applicant has control over land to be entered into contract and submits an acceptable conservation plan for the farm or ranch unit of concern that incorporates needed natural resource conservation practices and provide either a social security number or individual tax identification number of all proposed beneficiaries. Applicants claiming either limited resource producer or beginning farmer classification may be asked to provide documents to justify their claim. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.
Application and Award Process (090)
Preapplication Coordination (091):
Preapplication coordination is not applicable. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedures (092):
This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. Program participation is voluntary. The applicant applies at the local USDA Service Center on Form NRCS-CPA-1200. Applications may be filed at any time during the year. The participant develops an EQIP plan of operations that identifies what conservation practices they are proposing to implement. Technical assistance,and conservation payments may be provided to apply needed conservation practices and land use adjustments within a time schedule specified by the conservation EQIP plan of operations. A contract with a participant may apply one or more land management practices or one or more structural practices. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date.
Award Procedure (093):
NRCS will give special consideration to applicants that address priority natural resource concerns designated. Applications will be periodically ranked and selected for funding based on locally developed ranking process. These criteria can be found at eqip/EQIP_signup/2007%20EQIP%20Signup/2007_EQIP.html.
Deadlines (094):
Not Applicable.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time (095):
From 10 to 60 days.
Appeals (096):
A participant may appeal any adverse determination to the State Conservationist.
Renewals (097):
Other - Not Specified.
Assistance Consideration (100)
Formula and Matching Requirements (101):
This program has no statutory formula.
Matching Requirements: Percent: 75.%. Conservation practices may be eligible for conservation payments up to 75 percent of the total cost of establishing the practice including costs of foregone income. Limited resource producers, social disadvantaged producers and beginning farmers and ranchers may be eligible for payments up to 90 percent of the approved practice cost.
This program has MOE requirements, see funding agency for further details. None.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance (102):
A 2008 Farm Bill EQIP contract expires 1 year after the last planned practice is implemented but cannot be longer than 10 years. Obligations for assistance are tied to the schedule for applying conservation practices included in the EQIP plan of operations conservation plan used as the basis for the contract. Payments are made when the participant and NRCS certify that conservation practice is completed in accordance with NRCS standards and specifications. Technical assistance may be provided by a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP). The participant may not engage a TSP prior to contract approval. This assistance will be reimbursed based upon not-to-exceed rates. These payments will be made after the services of the certified TSP have been provided in accordance with NRCS standards and specifications. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.
Post Assistance Requirements (110)
Reports (111):
No reports are required.
Audits (112):
In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. Natural Resources Conservation Service makes periodic random reviews of the operation and maintenance of the contract items during the life span of the conservation practice. Participants are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.
Records (113):
Maintained in local NRCS office and Federal record centers for specified number of years.
Financial Information (120)
Obligations (122):
(Salaries) FY 13 $376,373,000; FY 14 est $368,285,000; and FY 15 est $368,286,000. (Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 13 $997,486,000; FY 14 est $981,715,000; and FY 15 est $981,714,000
Range and Average of Financial Assistance (123):
Conservation payments are limited to a maximum payment limitation of $300,000 for the life of the 2008 Farm Bill. Average contract payments are estimated to be $19,600.
Program Accomplishments (130):
Not Applicable.
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature (140):
7 CFR Part 1466. Program is announced through news media and in announcements to agricultural producers, farm and ranch owners and operators in the county. Program manuals, handbooks, and leaflets issued by NRCS.
Information Contacts (150)
Regional or Local Office (151) :
See Regional Agency Offices. For more information on this and other related conservation programs, consult the local telephone directory where your land is located for location of the USDA service center. For a list of NRCS State offices with telephone numbers and addresses, see appropriate Appendix IV of the Catalog. Information is available on the internet at
Headquarters Office (152):
Mark Rose Financial Assistance Programs Division, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture, PO Box 2890, Washington, District of Columbia 20113 Email: Phone: 202-720-1844
Website Address (153):
Examples of Funded Projects (170):
Not Applicable.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals (180):
Applications will be periodically ranked and selected for funding based on: the environmental benefits per dollar expended; the cost-effectiveness of the conversation practices; the environmental benefits derived; extent to which the contract will assist the applicant in complying with Federal, State, tribal or local environmental laws; whether the land is located in a priority area and the extent the contract will assist the priority area goals and objectives.