ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INCENTIVES
Section 2301 of the 2002 farm bill re-authorized and amended the Environmental Quality
Incentives Program (EQIP). The 2002 farm bill requires that at least 60 percent of the funds for
EQIP be targeted to conservation practices or systems for confined and grazed livestock. In
fiscal year (FY) 2005, $950 million was obligated for EQIP.
EQIP provides technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers to address soil,
water, air, and related natural resource concerns on their farm, ranch, and private, nonindustrial
forest lands. EQIP participants implement structural, vegetative, and land management practices
on eligible lands. Additionally, EQIP provides assistance to farmers and ranchers in complying
with Federal and State environmental laws. EQIP participation is voluntary, but producer
demand has always outpaced available funding.
Land and Participant Eligibility Requirements
Lands enrolled in EQIP are primarily privately owned. Eligible lands may include agricultural
land (cropland, rangeland, pasture, private nonindustrial forest land, and other land on which
crops or livestock are produced) that poses a serious threat to soil, water, air, or related resources
by reason of soil type, terrain, climatic conditions, soil topography, flooding, saline
characteristics, or other factors or natural hazards. Publicly owned land is eligible when the land
is under private control for the contract period, is included in the participant’s operating unit, and
the participant has written authorization from the Government landowner to apply conservation
practices. Installation of conservation practices and systems must contribute to an improvement
in the identified natural resource concern.
EQIP Financial Assistance
Cost-Share Payments: Under EQIP, USDA pays eligible program participants an amount not to
exceed 75 percent of the cost to implement one or more structural, vegetative, or land