Hawaii Environmental Quality Incentives Programlast updated: October 2010

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was approved in 1996 by amending the Food Security Act of 1985 (Farm Bill), reauthorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and again reauthorized in the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.

EQIP provides a voluntary conservation program for farmers, ranchers and owners of private, non-industrial forest land that promotes agricultural production, forest management and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible producers install or implement conservation practices on eligible agricultural land.

The five EQIP national priorities are:

  • Reductions of nonpoint source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with Total Daily Maximum Loads (TMDLs), where available; the reduction of surface and groundwater contamination; and reduction of contamination from agricultural point sources, such as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs);
  • Conservation of ground and surface water resources
  • Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOX), volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
  • Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels on agricultural land and
  • Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation.

Program Description
EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term that ends one year after the implementation of the last scheduled practice(s) and a maximum term of ten years. These contracts provide financial assistance to help develop conservation plans and implement conservation practices. Owners of land in agricultural production or persons who are engaged in livestock or agricultural production on eligible land may participate in the EQIP program. Program practices and activities are carried out according to an EQIP plan of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address identified natural resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions.

EQIP may provide payments up to 75 percent of the estimated incurred costs and income foregone of certain conservation practices and conservation activity plans (CAP).

Historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, Tribes) may be eligible for payments up to 90 percent of the estimated incurred costs and income foregone. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) for technical assistance needed for certain eligible activities,  services and the development of conservation activity plans.

The 2008 Farm Bill established a new payment limitation for individuals or legal entity participants who may not receive, directly or indirectly, payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $300,000 for all program contracts entered during any six year period. Project applications determined as having special environmental significance may, with approval of the NRCS Chief, have the payment limitation raised to a maximum of $450,000.

Contact Hawaii Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Contact Hawaii Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Shirley Nakamura
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. #4-118
Honolulu, Hawaii  96850
Phone: (808) 541-2600 x112
Fax: (808) 541-1335


Service Area

National Program

Office Locaters

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