USDA announces ranking dates for Conservation Incentive Contracts

Wednesday December 29, 2021

AMHERST  – The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Massachusetts has announced application ranking dates for Conservation Incentive Contracts (CIC), a new option available through the federal Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), a voluntary conservation program available for agricultural producers. 

The 2018 Farm Bill created the Conservation Incentive Contracts option to address high-priority conservation and natural resources concerns. Through five-year contracts, producers manage, maintain and address important natural resource concerns and build on existing conservation efforts.

 Fiscal year 2022 ranking dates in Massachusetts are: January 21, March 18, May 20 and July 15.

Producers should submit a signed application to the local NRCS field office indicating their interest in an EQIP-CIC contract. While applications are accepted on a continuous basis, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by ranking dates to be considered for the current funding period. For more information about EQIP CIC and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs in Massachusetts, visit: or contact the local NRCS field office for Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk counties by telephone 978-692-1904 ext 3 or email Theresa Boutwell

Through EQIP, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve soil health, improve water and air quality and create wildlife habitat. In fiscal year 2022, NRCS Massachusetts expanded EQIP to include Conservation Incentive Contracts.  

“EQIP CIC enhances resource benefits for producers through incentive conservation practices such as cover crops, transition to resource conserving crop rotations and precision agriculture technologies on cropland,” said Dan Wright, NRCS Massachusetts State Conservationist. “It allows producers to apply management practices on their operation, which can then be a gateway to Conservation Stewardship Program enrollment and achievement of a higher level of conservation stewardship on their entire operation.”

 NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with the people of Massachusetts to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources. The agency works with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners in their area.

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