Illinois Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Program Overview
The Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that provides assistance to farmers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Through EQIP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides assistance to agricultural producers in a manner that will promote agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals, optimize environmental benefits, and help farmers to meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental requirements. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land. Additional national information can be found at

EQIP is a competitive process. EQIP applications compete for funding on a state-wide basis. A ranking process is conducted to determine which applications will be granted EQIP funding. The Illinois NRCS has several different EQIP ranking criteria categories that were developed with input from the Illinois State Technical Committee. All ranking criteria categories achieve the common EQIP objective of optimizing environmental benefits.

Historically Underserved
NRCS Illinois continues to provide technical and financial assistance to all eligible participants including our Historically Underserved Producers (HUP). EQIP will serve farmers and ranchers who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudices because of their identity as a member of a group, without regard to their individual qualities. For more information about Historically Underserved Producers, please review the HUP Factsheet.

List of 2010 Priority Resource Concerns/Considerations:

  • Air Quality
  • Domestic Animals
  • Fish & Wildlife
  • Plant Condition
  • Soil Condition
  • Soil Erosion
  • Water Quality
  • Water Quantity

More on Organic Operations and EQIP
Steps to the EQIP Application Process for the 2010 Fiscal Year:
Prior to EQIP Sign Up:
Conservation planning completed prior to application ranking allows the ranking process to move more quickly, because the applicant, with help from NRCS, will already have identified the conservation needs and concerns. Conservation plans completed prior to ranking that address all the resource concerns on the farm can yield more points within an application. Planning prior to applying for EQIP also helps ensure the applicant is requesting EQIP funds for the correct practices.

Step 1: Signing up for EQIP at Your Local NRCS Field Office:
EQIP has a continuous sign-up process; applicants can sign up anytime of the year at their local NRCS field office. To sign up for EQIP, applicants must complete the NRCS-CPA-1200 form at their local field office. At the time of application, the applicant will also be provided with a copy of the NRCS-CPA-1202 Contract Appendix, explaining EQIP contract terms and conditions. Reviewing the contract appendix up front helps the applicant know the contract terms and conditions.

All applicants need to meet eligibility requirements in order to apply for EQIP. To ensure you are eligible for EQIP go to “What Documentation is Needed to be Eligible for EQIP?”.

Step 2: FY 2010 Illinois EQIP Ranking Criteria:
Illinois uses a web-based ranking criteria tool for ranking applications, which will be completed by your local NRCS field office. The web-based ranking tool includes the following:

• Yes/No questions for each ranking category;
• State and National ranking questions; and
• A Cost Efficiency Score, which is a benefit-cost calculation of the EQIP application.

 The ranking questions that are used in the web based ranking tool can be downloaded below.

Step 3: Practices Available for EQIP Funds:
Practices available for EQIP funds can be found in the “EQIP Conservation Practices and Payment Method” lists within each of the ranking criteria and in the FY2010 EQIP Payment list found in Ranking Criteria-Supporting Documents EQIP 2010.

FY 2010 EQIP Practices for Ranking Criteria
Practices selected for the EQIP application must address the resource concerns identified by the applicant with assistance from the NRCS field office. EQIP applications must include all planned practices that contributed to the ranking score. All practices must meet NRCS standards and specifications, which can be found in section IV of the Illinois eFOTG. Additional practice(s) may be included in the EQIP contract without receiving ranking points as long as the practice(s) address one or more of the resource concerns identified, are listed in the current Illinois eFOTG, and approved by NRCS Area Assistant State Conservationists.

When completing the application process, the field office will explain the payment rate that the applicant will receive for each practice. The applicant will then need to decide if they want to proceed with an EQIP contract, if funded.

Step 4: Funding EQIP Applications:
All applications for EQIP will compete on a state-wide basis, within each of the ranking criteria categories. Applying for EQIP is continuous; however, selecting applications for funding is done periodically through batching periods with specific cutoff dates. Applicants should visit your local field office as soon as possible to begin the application process.

In order for an application to be considered for funding during a particular batching period the applicant must have the following items completed by the batching period cutoff date:

• Completed and signed EQIP application (NRCS-CPA-1200);
• Eligibility requirements;
• Completed and signed ranking criteria;
• List of practices that address the resource concerns identified; and
• Schedule for implementation of the practices selected.
• Adjusted Gross Income form

Applications for EQIP will be taken continuously, however; batching periods will be announced to process applications. The cutoff dates for the Fiscal Year 2010 batching periods will be as follows:

• January 29, 2010 was the cutoff date for the first EQIP batching period.
• Cutoff dates for later batching periods will be established if funding is available.

Archived EQIP Information:

EQIP FY 2009
EQIP FY 2008
EQIP FY 2007
EQIP FY 2006


Contact Illinois Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Paula Hingson
2118 W. Park Court
Illinois State Office
Champaign, Illinois  61821
Phone: 217-353-6605 x6678
Fax: 217.353.6676


Service Area

National Program

Office Locaters

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