Environmental Quality Incentives Program

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The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a program created by the 1996 farm bill (P.L. 104-127) to provide primarily cost-sharing assistance, but also technical and educational assistance, aimed at promoting production and environmental quality, and optimizing environmental benefits. The program replaces the Agricultural Conservation Program, the Water Quality Incentives Program, the Great Plains Conservation Program, and the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program. EQIP is reauthorized in the 2002 farm bill (P.L. 107-171, Sec. 1241) at $0.4 billion in mandatory spending in FY2002 and rising to $1.3 billion in FY2007. The funding each year is to be divided, with 60% targeted to environmental concerns associated with livestock production and the remainder to crop production. Producers enter into contracts of 1 to 10 years. Participants can receive no more than $450,000 between FY2002 and FY2007. Two new sub programs were created; one provides matching grants for innovative conservation efforts, such as using market systems to reduce pollution and promoting carbon sequestration in soil; and, the second is the Ground and Surface Water Conservation Program (GSWP).

Intended to conserve water, aid in purchasing more efficient irrigation equipment has had the unintended consequence of increasing water use and lowering water tables in the Great Plains as additional land is brought into cultivation to use the water that was "saved."[1]


  1. ^ Ron Nixon (June 6, 2013). "Farm Subsidies Leading to More Water Use". The New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2013.