The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides technical and financial assistance to producers that need to address conservation concerns primarily related to livestock. EQIP applications are accepted throughout the year. NRCS evaluates each application using a state and locally developed evaluation process. Higher priorities are given to applications that encourage the use of cost-effective conservation priorities, and optimize environmental benefits.

EQIP activities are carried out according to a conservation plan developed in conjunction with the producer. Contracts for confined livestock feeding operations require development and implementation of a comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP). This plan is approved by the local conservation district. Practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use an approved third-party provider for technical assistance.

EQIP may pay up to 75% of the costs of certain conservation practices important to improving and maintaining the health of natural resources in the area. Incentive payments may be made to encourage a producer to adopt land management practices, such as nutrient management, manure management, integrated pest management, and wildlife habitat management, or to develop a CNMP and components of a CNMP. Limited resource farmers and bringing farmers may be eligible for up 90% of the cost of conservation practices.

EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term of one year after implementation of the last scheduled practice and a maximum term of ten years. These contracts provide Incentive payments and cost share payments for implementing conservation practices.