Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

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The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations.

EQIP is authorized in the farm bill and is among the largest of the NRCS financial assistance programs in Washington State.

The program is run with an open application period. At some point in time, based on the availability of the federal budget, an application cut-off time is announced. Available funds are divided into different 'pools' which attept to address different resource needs. Applications are ranked based on criteria developed at national, state, and local workgroup levels. National and state initiatives reduce funding in more general pools.

Assitance is provided through direct agreements with a cost share between the federal goverment and private citizens.

The Salish Sea is broken into two regions: Puget Sound, which includes, Kitsap, Mason, and King counties south, and the Northwest region, which includes counties to the north. NRCS works closely with the Washington State Conservation Comission and its conservation districts in developing farm plans and applications with private citiznes.

EQIP in Washington State http://www.wa.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/index1.html