Hawaii Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was approved in 1996 by amending the Food Security Act of 1985 (Farm Bill), reauthorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and again reauthorized in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.

EQIP provides a voluntary conservation program for farmers, ranchers and owners of private, non-industrial forest land that promotes agricultural production, forest management and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible producers install or implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land.

The five EQIP national priorities are:

  • Reductions of nonpoint source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with Total Daily Maximum Loads (TMDLs), where available; the reduction of surface and groundwater contamination; and reduction of contamination from agricultural point sources, such as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs);
  • Conservation of ground and surface water resources
  • Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOX), volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
  • Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land and
  • Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation.

Program Description
EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term that ends one year after the implementation of the last scheduled practice(s) and a maximum term of ten years. These contracts provide financial assistance to help develop conservation plans and implement conservation practices. Owners of land in agricultural production or persons who are engaged in livestock or agricultural production on eligible land may participate in the EQIP program. Program practices and activities are carried out 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.

EQIP may provide payments up to 75 percent of the estimated incurred costs and income foregone of certain conservation practices and conservation activity plans (CAP).

Historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, Tribes) may be eligible for payments up to 90 percent of the estimated incurred costs and income foregone. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) for technical assistance needed for certain eligible activities,  services and the development of conservation activity plans.

The 2008 Farm Bill established a new payment limitation for individuals or legal entity participants who may not receive, directly or indirectly, payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $300,000 for all program contracts entered during any six year period. Project applications determined as having special environmental significance may, with approval of the NRCS Chief, have the payment limitation raised to a maximum of $450,000.

Contact Hawaii Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Shirley Nakamura
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. #4-118
Honolulu, Hawaii  96850
Phone: (808) 541-2600 x112
Fax: (808) 541-1335


Service Area

National Program

Office Locaters

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