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Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Katie Hafner, Soil Conservationist

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP, is a Farm Bill program that provides cost share to farmers and landowners to complete different conservation projects on their farm or property. There are over 500 different practices that can be completed over a variety of land uses including cropland, pasture, forest, and farmstead. Projects start with a site visit from local field staff to talk about goals, timelines, and establishment. Then, property owners complete an application and submit it to NRCS. Applications are batched and ranked against others in the state based on the conservation benefit the project will provide.

The program is voluntary and confidential, and practices and projects can vary. When activities such as pollinator plantings are established, a one-time cost share payment is received and there is no annual payment, or yearly spot checks. Management practices, like cover crops, can be cost- shared for three years, with payment after establishment. All cost-share is a set per-acre, unit, feet, gallon basis. Estimates are done during the conservation planning phase, to better understand expectations at the start of the project. District staff can assist you in navigating the programs, they know the county, and understand conservation. We are here to help!

The *tentative* timeline for this year’s sign up is as follows:

- Now thru winter 2023- accept applications

- Early spring 2023- conservation planning

- Late spring 2023- application ranking

- Early summer 2023- applications are selected for funding

*USDA has not announced official timeline at this time

Some of the most popular conservation practices in Clinton County are:

- Cover crops

- Pollinator planting (big or small!)

- Nutrient management

- Grassed waterway

- Invasive species removal

- Reduced, strip, or no-till

- Filter strips

- Chemical storage buildings

- Forest Management Plans

- Manure storage (solid or liquid)

- Interior fencing for grazing management

- Livestock waterers and pipelines

- Manure Management Plans

- Many more!

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