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EQIP - Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Summary:  Free energy audits and cost-share contracts for specific energy efficiency measures on existing farm infrastructure, typically 75% of the value of project costs, and in NC typically only for commercial chicken houses, tobacco growers, and commercial grain growers.

What is EQIP?

EQIP is a “fix it” program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) intended to assist producers with the implementation of conservation practices that address an identified resource concern on their farm.

EQIP is comprised of various "initiatives," one of which is the On-Farm Energy Initiative.

Who is eligible?

Agricultural producers and ranchers who control or own eligible land, are actively engaged in production, and have a farm number with the FSA.

What kinds of projects in North Carolina are eligible for cost-share assistance through EQIP's On-Farm Energy Initiative?

Historically in NC, most projects have been for commercial chicken farms to upgrade lighting, insulation, tunnel doors, and radiant brooders. Grain dryers and automatic controllers for tobacco ventilation has also been funded.

How much, and how is it awarded?

Payments vary by the type and scale of conservation practice being implemented. For a sense of cost-share amounts and rates, see this 2016 EQIP payment list.

Historically, ~$500,000 has been available for EQIP's energy initiative, and most goes toward paying for audits.

When is the deadline?

Applications should be complete by September 30th, 2017 to be considered for monies disbursed in the spring of 2018.



    See our How to Apply document for detailed steps that we find most useful.

    NRCS also has a five-step process for its EQIP program, called the "5 Steps to Assistance."


    We can help with:

    • Over-the-phone consultation about where to begin.
    • Connection with a free audit that may be completed faster than the EQIP-paid "AgEMP" audit. See our "How to Apply" above for details on the importance of and timing for the audit portion of your EQIP-funded project.

    For assistance, feel free to contact your region's Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council. Currently there are six councils participating in this outreach and assistance project:


    The Resource Conservation and Development Councils of North Carolina can assist farmers with understanding and navigating the NRCS-EQIP's On-Farm Energy Initiative.