Energy Initiative

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

The 2008 Farm Bill provides authority to use the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to address energy conservation on agricultural operations. During 2012, the EQIP Energy Initiative is designed to assist producers in two ways:

  1. Identify ways to conserve energy on farms through an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP), also known as an on-farm energy audit.
  2. Provide assistance to implement various recommended measures through the use of eligible conservation practices, such as the Farmstead Energy Improvement practice.

All AgEMPs must be developed by a Technical Service Provider (TSP). A directory of TSPs can be found at the TechReg Web page. Development of the Conservation Activity Plan must be complete within 12 months of the contract obligation and contract lengths are typically limited to two years.

Note: Applying for the 374 Farmstead Energy Improvement conservation practice requires an energy audit before an applicant can apply for that practice. This is the only conservation practice where the energy audit is a prerequisite.

Eligible Conservation Practices

  • 122 Agricultural Energy Management Plan - Headquarters
  • 122 Agricultural Energy Management Plan - Landscape
  • 328 Conservation Crop Rotation
  • 329 Residue Mgmt-No-Till/Strip Till/Direct Seed
  • 340 Cover Crop 345 Residue Mgmt, Mulch Till
  • 374 Farmstead Energy Improvement
  • 345 Residue Management, Mulch Till
  • 380 Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment

Funding is available for two separate energy AgEMPs or on-farm energy audits. One plan can be developed for the farm headquarters area and another plan is available for the landscape or field areas of an agriculture operation. The AgEMP (Headquarters) will be individually tailored to ensure coverage of the primary energy use areas on the farm headquarters, such as milk cooling, irrigation pumping, heating and cooling of livestock production facilities, manure collection and transfer, and other common on-farm activities. The AgEMP (Landscape) determines and documents current energy usage, over the past annual cycle, and provides cost-effective alternatives and recommendations for energy conservation. The evaluation of energy conservation activities shall include energy used in the cultivation, protection, and harvesting of agricultural crops.

Ranking Periods

EQIP applications are accepted year-round. NRCS has established three ranking periods for 2013:

Ranking Period 1: Applications received by close of business on January 18, 2013
Ranking Period 2: Applications received by close of business on February 15, 2013
Ranking Period 3: Applications received by close of business on March 15, 2013
Ranking Period 4:
Applications received by close of business on April 19, 2013
Ranking Period 5: Applications received by close of business on May 17, 2013

On Farm Energy Payment Schedules and Ranking Tools

The following documents require Acrobat Reader.  If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact Ron Wood at (804) 287-1660.

FY13 EQIP Payment Schedule (pdf, 128kb)
Energy Ranking Summary (PDF; 44 KB) 

How to Apply for USDA-NRCS Conservation Programs

Learn what steps you will need to take to prepare for, and submit, your application to become a USDA-NRCS Conservation Program participant.

Learn more information on the criteria required to become an eligible EQIP applicant.

This document requires Adobe Reader.

NRCS-CPA-1200 Conservation Program Application (PDF; 40 KB)

For more information, contact your local USDA Service Center, or visit the USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program Web site.

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