Conservation Assistance to Producers in Drought-Impacted States

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering $41.8 million in conservation assistance for producers in drought-impacted states through a new Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Incentive Contract Pilot program.

Applications in California are accepted through July 12, 2021.  

What is the purpose of the EQIP Conservation Incentive Contract Pilot?

The 2018 Farm Bill created the new Conservation Incentive Contracts option to address high-priority conservation and natural resources concerns. As part of the 2021 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Incentive Contracts (CIC) pilot program will support producers in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Oregon to help alleviate immediate impacts of drought and other natural resource challenges. NRCS will rollout nationwide in fiscal year 2022.

Who is eligible to apply?
Eligibility for EQIP includes land and applicants. Eligible land includes:
  • Cropland and hayland
  • Rangeland
  • Pastureland
  • Non-industrial private forestland
  • Environmentally sensitive areas
Eligible applicants include:
  • Agricultural Producers
  • Owners of non-industrial private forestland
  • Indian Tribes
  • Those with an interest in the agricultural or forestry operations
  • Water management entities.
What projects are eligible?

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will set aside $11.8 million directly for drought-related practices including forest management plans, tree-shrub establishment, brush management, prescribed grazing, pasture and hay planting, wildlife habitat, livestock watering systems, and cover crops.

There are two types of incentive payments:
  1. Payments to adopt new practices or infrastructure for conservation goals
  2. Payments to manage, maintain and improve conservation work
Every project in EQIP-CIC has to address at least one priority resource concern related to specific land use:
  • Source water depletion on crop land
  • Soil quality limitation on cropland
  • Terrestrial habitat on cropland and forest land
  • Livestock production limitation on range and pasture land
  • Degraded plant condition on range, pasture and forest land
  • Fire management on range, pasture and forest land
What are the funding limits?

NRCS has invested $22,774,000 for California. Producers may apply for up to $650,000 for EQIP-CIC projects over five years.

What is the program timeline?

Applications are accepted through July 12, 2021. The NRCS plans to select applications for funding by August 13, 2021. Projects may be completed over Five years.

How do I apply?

Producers will need to meet in person with their NRCS district conservation to complete applications.

For more information on this program or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764.


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