Guest Opinion: Weigh in on changes to Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Published 7:15 pm Saturday, February 8, 2020

By Anna Johnson

As it works to implement changes to the 2018 farm bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to accept public comments on its rule addressing the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

EQIP is one of the nation’s largest conservation programs. As of 2018, 13.7 million acres were covered under active and completed EQIP contracts. EQIP helps producers implement conservation practices on their operations that preserve soil, water, and other natural resources.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

The new EQIP rule includes several changes required by the farm bill. One is creating a new enrollment option of incentive contracts and incentive payments. The new rule also provides for an advance payment option for historically underserved producers, and offers increased payments for producers participating in the EQIP-Organic Initiative. Finally, it expands opportunities for farmers and ranchers to participate in the Conservation Innovation Grant program, through innovative on-farm conservation and building soil health trials.

Public comments on the changes to EQIP will be taken until Feb. 18. The Center for Rural Affairs encourages farmers and ranchers who care about conservation, are interested in EQIP, or have used EQIP to weigh in.

Need help submitting a comment? Check out our guide at You can also reach out via email to or, or by calling us at 515.215.1294.

If you are interested in enrolling in EQIP, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office to learn about the application process and deadlines.

Anna Johnson is policy manager for the Center for Rural Affairs.