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Get Funding For Being Organic – June 1, 2012 Deadline

2012 May 26
by Paul Mabrey

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was reauthorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Farm Bill) to provide a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land.

In addition, the 2008 Farm Bill included provisions for the use of EQIP to provide opportunities for organic producers to address natural resource concerns related to organic production as well as requirements related to adherence to theNational Organic Program (NOP) requirements and new program payment limitations.

This assistance helps producers plan and implement conservation practices to allow their organic operations to be environmentally sustainable. Some highlights of the organic provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill and associated regulatory changes include:

  • Assistance for conservation practices and planning related to addressing resource concerns as part of organic production
  • Assistance is limited to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six year period
  • Producers will develop and work toward implementing an Organic System Plan (OSP)
  • Producers must have or be pursing organic certification

FY 2012 EQIP Organic Initiative

Each fiscal year, NRCS will focus financial and technical assistance through the EQIP Organic Initiative to applicants who are:

  • Certified organic producers
  • Transitioning to organic production, or
  • Producers selling less than $5000 organic products annually

The 2012 Organic Initiative provides financial assistance to implement a broad set of conservation practices to assist Organic producers meet their resource concerns and fulfill many of the requirements in an Organic System Plan (OSP) including, but not limited to assistance with:

  • Developing a conservation plan
  • Developing a transition to organic production plan
  • Establishing boundaries and buffer zones
  • Improving soil quality and organic matter while minimizing erosion
  • Improving pest management
  • Developing a grazing plan and improving grazing resources
  • Improving waste utilization and composting
  • Improving irrigation efficiency
  • Enhancing cropping systems and nutrient management
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