Producers implementing conservation techniques on-farm are eligible for financial assistance through the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service. There are several forms of assistance available. These programs may be tailored to specific crop rotation programs or designed to compensate producers in the throes of conservation planning.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program providing assistance to agricultural producers seeking to promote agricultural production and environmental quality. Through EQIP, agricultural producers receive financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices that optimize environmental benefits on working agricultural land.
Program participants can receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices and other conservation planning exercises to address resource concerns on the land. Payments are made after the conservation practices and activities mentioned in the grant application have been implemented. Contracts may last up to 10 years.
EQUIP eligibility guidelines per USDA NRCS:
Agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland and Tribes are eligible to apply for EQIP. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands. Landowners and producers who begin installing a practice prior to written contract approval will become ineligible for that practice for EQIP assistance unless a waiver has been approved.
- Control or own eligible land
- Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions
- Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements
- Develop an NRCS EQIP plan of operations
Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.
The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements and through program contracts or easement agreements.
The RCPP encourages producers to collaborate with project partners to increase restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales. Through the program, the NRCS helps producers implement and maintain conservation practices in select project areas.
RCCP eligibility guidelines per USDA NRCS:
Eligible Partners – Agricultural or silvicultural producer associations, farmer cooperatives or other groups of producers, state or local governments, American Indian tribes, municipal water treatment entities, water and irrigation districts, conservation-driven nongovernmental organizations and institutions of higher education.
Eligible Participants – Under RCPP, eligible producers and landowners of agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland may enter into conservation program contracts or easement agreements under the framework of a partnership agreement. RCPP assistance is also available independent of a partner if the land is located either in a partner project area or in a critical conservation area designated by the Secretary.
To apply for the RCCP, visit your local service center or the state website. Detailed information is available through the NRCS. Visit the RCCP site for more detailed information.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps producers build on existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operation. Whether producers are seeking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop yields, or develop wildlife habitat, the NRCS can custom design a CSP plan to help meet those goals. For producers who are already taking steps to improve the condition of the land, CSP can help find new ways to meet conservation goals.
CSP is the largest conservation program in the U.S. with 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled. Thousands of people have made the choice to voluntarily enroll in the program. Enhancements, or management activities that go above and beyond the minimum conservation practice standard requirements, help the producer achieve a higher level of conservation. Learn more about enhancements.
To apply for the Alabama CSP program, visit your local service center or the state website. Detailed enhancement information is available through the NRCS CSP website. Visit the CSP website for more information.