Iowa Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Program Description

EQIP funding may be approved for the following resource concerns:

  • Surface and subsurface water quality related to the presence of excessive nutrients and organics related to livestock production by concentrated animal feeding operation's (CAFO's) on open feedlots
  • Plant condition and management to protect/improve pastureland, soil erosion control.
  • Wildlife management to protect at risk wildlife species.

The majority of EQIP funds will be distributed through Iowa's 100 NRCS field offices. These funds are distributed based on the:

  • number of livestock in the county
  • percent of agricultural land in the county with impaired waters due to agricultural concerns (as identified by Section 303(d) of Clean Water Act)
  • soil types with a Land Capability Class IIe and greater
  • acres needing wildlife habitat conservation systems

Statewide guidance to local work groups included:

  • EQIP cost-share for eligible structural practices is not to exceed 50% of the cost of implementation.
  • Maximum cost-share a participant can receive for grazing systems is $50,000 of EQIP funds. Grazing system practices include: prescribed grazing, fencing, pasture and hayland planting, brush management, nutrient management, ponds/grade stabilization structures, wells and other water facilities.
  • Property line fences are not eligible for EQIP cost-share.
  • A locally established cost-share limit for a waste storage facility cannot be less than $50,000.
  • Incentive payments for nutrient management, pest management, no-till, strip till and ridge till cannot exceed the state-specific amounts by more than 25 percent.
  • Incentive payments for land management practices are to be limited to the minimum amount necessary to encourage the producer to apply the practice and are limited to no more than 3 years of payments.
  • Limited resource producers and beginning farmers MAY be eligible for a higher cost-share percentage, not to exceed 75% cost-share for the first $50,000 of EQIP funding.

Ground and Surface Water Conservation (GSWC)

The Ground and Surface Water Conservation program addresses water quality resource concerns related to inefficient water use on irrigated land. The purpose of GSWC EQIP is to promote water conservation by providing cost-share and incentive payments to producers to carry out eligible water conservation activities with respect to the agricultural operations of producers to –  
  1. improve irrigation systems;
  2. enhance irrigation efficiencies;
  3. convert to –
    a. the production of less water-intensive agricultural commodities; or
    b. dryland farming;
  4. improve the storage of water through measures such as water banking and groundwater recharge;
  5. mitigate the effects of drought; or
  6. institute other measures that improve groundwater and surface water conservation, as determined by the Secretary, in the agricultural operations of producers.

A participant may receive assistance to implement an EQIP plan of operations for water conservation with GSWC funds only if the assistance will facilitate a net savings in ground or surface water resources in the agricultural operation on existing irrigated land of the producer. A participant will be eligible for cost-share or incentive payments for irrigation related structural and land management practices only on land that has been irrigated for two of the last five years prior to application for assistance.


Within these state EQIP requirements each district conservationist has established resource concerns, established practices along with cost share and incentive payments, and established an application ranking process to prioritize applications for funding. Select your county below for details on the county EQIP information:


To apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), you will need to fill out the Conservation Program Contract Form CCC-1200 and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Contract Appendix To Form CCC-1200.

After submitting your application at your local USDA Service Center, a certified conservation planner will assist you in developing a plan to address the resource concerns on your farm. They will also work with you to complete a scoring worksheet for your application. Submitted applications are ranked, with the highest priority given to those applications in each region with the highest score.

Contact Iowa Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Leroy Brown
Iowa NRCS State Office
693 Federal Building 210 Walnut
Des Moines, Iowa  50309
Phone: 515-284-4260
Fax: 515-284-4394


Service Area

National Program

Office Locaters

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