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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): Status and Issues

Megan Stubbs
Analyst in Agricultural Conservation and Natural Resources Policy

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides farmers with financial and technical assistance to plan and implement soil and water conservation practices. EQIP is the largest agriculture conservation financial assistance program for working lands. EQIP was first authorized in 1996 and was most recently revised by Section 2501 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246, the 2008 farm bill). It is a mandatory spending program (i.e., not subject to annual appropriations) and is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Funding is currently authorized to grow to $1.75 billion in FY2012. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, non-industrial private forestland, and other land on which resource concerns related to agricultural production could be addressed through an EQIP contract.

With the 112
th Congress’s emphasis on reducing federal spending, EQIP could face tighter budget constraints with a potential reduction in mandatory funding levels and a continuing backlog of unfunded applications. Congress will also likely consider reauthorization of the 2008 farm bill because much of the current law, including EQIP, expires in 2012.

Date of Report: May 9, 2011
Number of Pages: 13
Order Number: R40197
Price: $29.95

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