California Environmental Quality Incentives Program
How the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Works
EQIP is a continuous sign-up, voluntary, conservation program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that provides financial and technical assistance for approved conservation practices based on a current conservation plan.
The purposes of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is to promote agricultural production, forest management, and environmental quality as compatible goals; optimize environmental benefits; and help farmers and ranchers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations.
NRCS encourages customers to submit an application at any time. EQIP applications are accepted on a continuous basis with periodic application ranking cut-offs when applications are ranked for funding. Applications received after the application ranking cut-off will be considered in the next ranking period.
EQIP cannot provide financial assistance for the same practice enrolled on the same land as any other USDA conservation program.
On-Farm Conservation Planning
A conservation plan is the basis for an EQIP application. Applicants will need an up-to-date conservation plan that describes the conservation practices to be implemented, the timing of the implementation, the practice location, and the conservation benefit to be achieved.
NRCS will work with producers to develop a plan of operations that:
  • Identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified natural resource concerns
  • Implements conservation practices and activities according to an EQIP plan of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified natural resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions.
  • Producers may use a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) for technical assistance needed for certain eligible activities, services and the development of conservation plans.
Program Eligibility
Owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on the land are eligible for EQIP.
To be eligible to participant in EQIP, an applicant must:
  • be an individual, legal entity, or joint operation
  • have signature authority if applicant is an entity or joint operation
  • be an agricultural producer that is engaged in livestock or agricultural production, including forestry, or be an owner of agricultural lands, non-industrial private forestlands, or other lands on which agricultural products, livestock, or forest-related products are produced and natural  resource concerns can be addressed
  • have control of the land for the life of the proposed contract
  • if structural practices will be installed on land that is not owned by the applicant, the applicant must have written concurrence from the landowner
  • be in compliance with the highly erodible land (HEL) and wetland conservation (Swampbuster) compliance provisions of the 1985 Food Security Act
  • adjusted gross income (AGI) requirements to be determined by the new Farm Bill
  • be within the payment limitations of the program
Land Eligibility for EQIP
Eligible land includes agricultural and non-industrial private forest land, and other land on which agricultural products, livestock, or forest-related products are produced and resource concerns may be addressed.
Application Process
  • Apply for EQIP by completing the application, Form NRCS-CPA-1200, Conservation Program Application, and submitting it to the field office in the county in which you own land.
  • Since EQIP sign-up is continuous, there may be more than one window of opportunity for funding your application based on available funding each fiscal year.
  • A conservation planner will develop a conservation plan and determine if the land offered for EQIP has eligible resource concern(s) that can be addressed through implementation of approved EQIP conservation practices.
  • NRCS ranks the application using criteria developed for the appropriate fund pool.
  • Both NRCS and the participant must sign the contract prior to implementation of any planned conservation practices. Any practice scheduled for financial assistance commenced prior to fund obligation is ineligible for payment.

Contact California Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Alan Forkey
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
430 G Street
Davis, California  95616
Phone: 530-792-5653


Service Area

Statewide service provider in:
  • California

Office Locaters

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator
Related Success Stories for California 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.