Persons who are engaged in forestry, livestock or agricultural production on eligible land may participate in the EQIP program. EQIP has to address natural resource concerns and not production practices.
EQIP activities are carried out according to an environmental quality incentives program plan of operations developed in conjunction with the landowner. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions. The local conservation district approves the plan. Applications for cost-share are ranked on a state wide basis once a year usually in the spring.
EQIP cost-share is 50% and 75 percent of the costs of certain conservation practices. However, limited resource producers and beginning farmers and ranchers may be eligible for cost-shares up to 90 percent. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified third-party provider for technical assistance. An individual or entity may not receive, directly or indirectly, cost-share or incentive payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $450,000 for all EQIP contracts entered during the term of the Farm Bill.
Under the program, the following forestry related conservation practices are eligible for cost share reimbursement: planting site preparation, hardwood or pine tree planting (areas planted to pine must have at least 15% of the total area planted in hardwoods), prescribed burning, forest stand improvement to remove undesirable species, planting wildlife food plots, and erosion control measures such as water bars, wing ditches, all weather stream crossings, etc. Applications are ranked according to what practices are applied for.
Owners of eligible lands may apply at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office.