Alabama Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Program Description

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a USDA program that provides payments to participants to address significant natural resource concerns on agricultural lands.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) operate through local work groups to provide leadership to identify county resource concerns based on watershed assessments, public involvement, and "optimize environmental benefits."

EQIP funds are awarded to landowners/users who agree to implement conservation/environmental practices and systems through a contracting process. Practices and plans for EQIP are to treat the land to a sustainable level to address the primary national, state, and county resource concerns.

This voluntary conservation program addresses serious threats to soil, water, and related natural resources through contracts. EQIP provides geographically targeted technical, financial, and educational assistance to maximize environmental benefits.

You can apply for an EQIP contract at your local USDA Service Center. Applications are ranked and selected for funding in order to optimize environmental benefits. Batching dates may be announced as needed to rank and prioritize any new or unfunded application. Contact the local Service Center for further guidelines and details of the program.

Signup and Application Information

EQIP in Alabama will be implemented with three goals in mind:

  • To address the most severe resource concerns within the state through prudent and judicious use of EQIP funds
  • To place decisions and implementation responsibilities at the lowest level possible by involving locally led partners in the decision making process
  • To provide oversight and program management that is consistent with accomplishing national EQIP goals and objectives

Each county in Alabama will operate as an EQIP pool area. The local work group will advise NRCS on implementation of the regular EQIP within that county. Each county will select the practices from the list of state approved EQIP practices that will be offered within the county and the payment rates are the same for the county as the state.

A nationally developed ranking tool will be used to rank applications for funding. The local workgroup will advise NRCS on county resource ranking priorities. Copies of ranking tools are available at the local field office. The practice payment schedule is available below. 

Eligible producers may receive a payment based on the statewide average cost of the installation of the conservation practice.  Socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers are eligible for a higher payment based on the statewide average cost of the installation of the conservation practice.  In addition, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers can receive up to 30 percent advanced payment for purchasing materials or contracting.

Note: All participants that certify eligibility as a farmer or rancher under the New and Beginning, Limited Resource, Small Scale, or Socially Disadvantaged groups will provide all records necessary to justify their claim as requested by a NRCS representative. It is the responsibility of the participant to provide accurate data to support all items addressed in the application at the request of NRCS. False certifications are subject to criminal and civil fraud statutes.

2011 EQIP Programs

Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) NRCS national site that contains general information about AWEP, a component of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The 2009 Request for Proposals for AWEP can be found at the bottom of the page. (will open in a new window)

2011 Alabama EQIP Programs

State Wide Resource Concerns


Conservation Innovation Grant

EQIP Conservation Practice, Signup, and Ranking Documents

2011 County EQIP Signup Information 

Additional EQIP Resources

Contact Alabama Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Steve Musser
Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
3381 Skyway Drive
P.O. Box 311
Auburn, Alabama  36830
Phone: 334-887-4532
Fax: 334-887-4551


Service Area

National Program

Office Locaters

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator
Related Success Stories for Alabama Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Cheney Lake Water Quality Project
Farmers, the City of Wichita, and NRCS and EPA partnered to fund and implement conservation practices to clean and protect the city’s water supply at Cheney Lake.

District,NRCS target irrigation water quality
NRCS and Central Platte Natural Resources District use EQIP and district cost share funds to target cost-share funds at priority water quality irrigation farmers.

Iowa Buffer Team
A unique group of public and private partners joined forces to promote the establishment of buffers on agricultural lands.

Missouri SWCD/NRCS Partnership
Missouri NRCS' partnership with local soil and water conservation districts is tops in reducing soil erosion and protecting water quality.

Peach Resource Renewal Project
Conservation Innovation Grants are part of the 2002 Farm Bill and were established as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Salt Cedar Brush Management
Texas Landowners with federal cost-share funds are eradicating Salt Cedar in sections of the Canadian River to increase flow and benefit listed fish species.

Suwannee River Partnership
The Partnership is working with producers to improve river water quality through a voluntary program of Best Management Practices (BMP) and verification.