USDA-NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural and forestland producers to install conservation practices. In addition to conservation practices, EQIP funds plan development, such as Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMPs), Grazing Plans, Drainage Water Management Plans, and more.
Hundreds of Illinois producers have successfully used EQIP to address natural resource issues on their farm. Some EQIP activities include installing structures to address gully erosion, improving pastureland diversity using interseeding techniques, and improving soil health by increasing organic matter with cover crops. A special Illinois funding pool also targets monarch butterflies by creating or improving monarch habitat with stands of milkweed and nectar plants. Another special funding pool targets migratory water fowl by improving water quality and wildlife habitat with drainage water management and cover crops.
Illinois NRCS has established two application deadlines for 2019: April 19th and May 17th. NRCS encourages producers to submit applications by one of the deadlines if they are interested in the program. For more information on EQIP, contact your local NRCS field office or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/il/programs/financial/eqip/