Farmers and Farm & Forest Owners Can Conserve Natural Resources with EQIP Cost-Share

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program which helps producers make conservation work for them. Applications are due by January 15, 2021.

NRCS provides agricultural producers with financial resources and one-on-one help to plan and implement improvements, or what NRCS calls conservation practices. Using these practices can lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving agricultural operations.

Through EQIP, you can voluntarily implement conservation practices, and NRCS co-invests in these practices with you. Together, NRCS and producers invest in solutions that conserve natural resources for the future while also improving agricultural operations.

Accepting Applications

Any eligible agricultural producer can submit an EQIP application at any time. NRCS announces “cut-off” or application submission deadline dates to evaluate, rank, and approve applications received by the announced date. EQIP contains provisions to distribute percentages of program funds by categories including type of agricultural land use, type of producer, natural resource concern, conservation practice and special initiatives.

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee and Local Work Groups, has developed the 2021 ranking criteria to prioritize and subsequently fund applications addressing priority natural resource concerns in Ohio. To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit

Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the January 15, 2021 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2021 funding.

To discuss eligibility and/or apply for EQIP, contact your local service center. If you live in Fairfield County or Hocking County, contact District Conservationist, Dave Libben at or 740-415-3921; or Soil Conservationist, Brice Shaw at or 740-415-3907.


Eligible EQIP applicants include agricultural producers, owners of non-industrial private forestland, and Tribes that:

Control or own eligible land
Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions
Comply with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements
Agree to develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations

Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands. Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.

Participant Responsibilities

Applicants must complete and file all application and eligibility paperwork as required. Applicants approved for funding must sign an EQIP contract and implement the planned conservation practices to NRCS standards and specifications as scheduled.

Starting a conservation practice in an EQIP contract before final written contract approval renders that practice ineligible for EQIP assistance unless NRCS granted a written waiver.

EQIP Categories

Applications may be considered for funding in a variety of agricultural categories such as cropland, pasture operations, and organic. Several special projects are also available which address water quality, forestry management, improving pollinator populations and wildlife habitat, pasture improvements and many more. See the EQIP Category Table for full details.

Supporting Local Pollinators and Wildlife

Wildlife Habitat Conservation: This category promotes habitat conservation for at-risk wildlife species, including restoring, developing, or enhancing wildlife habitat.
Honey Bee Pollinator: This category assists producers to increase honey bee habitat. The honey bee pollinator effort will provide floral forage habitats to benefit hive nutritional health as part of an overall effort to increase the health of honey bees.
Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project: This category assists producers to increase monarch butterfly habitat. Planting milkweed and nectar-rich plants not only benefit butterflies, they also strengthen agricultural operations and support other beneficial insects and wildlife.

Forestry Practices

Forestry: This category assists producers with non-industrial private forest land to address resource concerns on land used for producing forest-related products.
Conservation Activity Plan (CAP): A Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) developed by a non-NRCS individual or entity identifies conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need, typically for land transitioning to organic production, grazing land, or forest land, or for specific resource needs such as nutrient management.


Cropland: This category addresses soil erosion and water quality resource concerns on cropland and adjacent incidental areas and managed on a regional basis.
Pasture Operations: This category assists producers that have a pasture operation to address natural resource concerns related to the growing, raising, or reproducing of livestock.
Confined Livestock & Manure Management: This category assists producers with confined livestock to address resource concerns related to the storage, treatment, and management of animal waste.

Other Opportunities

Seasonal High Tunnels: This category assists producers to extend the growing season, improve plant and soil quality, reduce nutrient and pesticide transportation, improve air quality through reduced transportation inputs, and reduce energy use by providing consumers with a local source of fresh produce.
Beginning Farmer and Rancher: This fund category is for applicants meeting the definition of Beginning Farmer/Rancher or Veteran Farmer/Ranchers who also meet the Beginning Farmer/Rancher definition.
Limited Resource Farmer: This category assists limited resource producers to address resource concerns.
Socially Disadvantaged Producer: This category assists socially disadvantaged producers to address resource concerns.