Tennessee Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Program Description

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a continuous sign-up program that offers financial and technical assistance to eligible participants to install and maintain conservation practices, including those related to organic production, on agricultural land or private nonindustrial forestland.

Details about sign up for EQIP are announced each year; applications can be made at the local USDA Service Center. October 29, 2010, was the deadline for general applications to be accepted for ranking consideration in the first evaluation period for Fiscal Year 2011. The Agricultural Energy Management Plan-Headquarters (AgEMP –energy audit) sign up is available through February 25, 2011. Organic application signup is available through March 4, 2011.

Applicants must pass the Tennessee EQIP & WHIP Screening Tool in order to be ranked for the competitive contract-funding selection process. A contract containing an EQIP Plan of Operations that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or measures needed to address the resource concerns will be developed on applications that are accepted into the program. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions. If approved for funding, the participant must begin implementation of at least one practice within the first 12 months and continue practice implementation according to the contract schedule.

EQIP provides payments up to 75 percent of the incurred costs (including foregone income for particular conservation practices and activities). Certain historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers and socially disadvantaged producers) may be eligible for payments up to 90 percent of the estimated incurred costs. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified Technical Service Provider (TSP) for technical assistance needed for certain eligible activities and services. 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.


Agricultural producers engaged in livestock or agricultural production may participate in EQIP. There are, however, circumstances that may limit an individual’s or entity’s participation; these include:

  • Federal and state governments and political subdivisions thereof, are not eligible.
  • The applicant must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions.
  • The individual or entity may not be eligible due to Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) provisions.

In order to be eligible to signup for EQIP, the applicant must be determined to be an eligible producer by the NRCS. The land offered for EQIP must also be determined eligible by NRCS. Eligible land for the EQIP signup is land that has a resource concern identified by a certified conservation planner that can be addressed through application of the conservation practices eligible for this signup period. 

Sign Up

To apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), you will need to fill out the Conservation Program Contract Form CCC-1200 and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Contract Appendix To Form CCC-1200.

After submitting your application at your local USDA Service Center, a certified conservation planner will assist you in developing a plan to address the resource concerns on your farm. They will also work with you to complete a scoring worksheet for your application. Submitted applications are ranked, with the highest priority given to those applications in each region with the highest score.

Contact Tennessee Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Contact Tennessee Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Craig Ellis
Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
675 U. S. Courthouse
801 Broadway
Nashville, Tennessee  37203
Phone: 615-277-2587
Fax: 615-277-2577


Service Area

National Program