R40197 - Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): Status and Issues
13-Aug-2010; Megan Stubbs; 13 p.
Update: Previous releases:
March 29, 2010
February 5, 2009
Abstract: The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides farmers with financial and technical assistance to plan and implement soil and water conservation practices. EQIP is the largest agriculture conservation financial assistance program for working lands. EQIP was first authorized in 1996 and was most recently revised by Section 2501 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, the 2008 farm bill). It is a mandatory spending program (i.e., not subject to annual appropriations) and is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Funding is currently authorized to grow to $1.75 billion in FY2012. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, non-industrial private forestland, and other land on which resource concerns related to agricultural production could be addressed through an EQIP contract.
With the 111th Congress facing tighter budget constraints, EQIP could face similar challenges
with a potential reduction in mandatory funding levels and a continuing backlog of unfunded
applications. A change in income limitations along with a new waiver created in the 2008 farm
bill could also raise issues for the program. EQIP will also continue to face challenges in
measuring environmental and program accomplishments. [read report]