Funding Availabale for Organic Producers
Auburn, Alabama, February 25, 2010
Alabama farmers transitioning to organic agriculture or those who are certified organic have the opportunity to receive assistance for applying conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative. Applications are being accepted through March 12. While this is a continuous signup, applications for 2010 funding must be received by the cut-off date.
To be eligible for EQIP organic assistance, producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan. Approved applicants may receive up to $20,000 per year not to exceed $80,000 in a 6 year period. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers conservation practices to assist organic producers address resource concerns related to soil condition, soil erosion, domestic animals, plant conditions, water quality, and fish and wildlife.
This year the program includes funds for Seasonal High Tunnels also known as Hoop Houses. “High tunnels provide significant advantages to owners of small farms, limited resource farmers, and organic producers. Growers are given the opportunity to address existing resource concerns such as soil and plant conditions while providing the added benefit of expanding the growing season for locally grown crops,” says Dr. William Puckett, Alabama State Conservationist.
Interested producers should visit their nearest local Natural Resources Conservation Service office to determine eligibility. Individuals are not eligible for EQIP until they have completed the Farm Bill eligibility requirements. Contact your local NRCS or Farm Service Agency Office to begin this process. NRCS field offices are listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Department of Agriculture or on-line at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov.