EQIP Organic Farming Initiative 2012
Alabama farmers who are transitioning to organic agriculture or who are currently certified organic can receive special assistance for meeting their conservation goals under new provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill. Farmers may apply for financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years.
Offered by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for the third year, the EQIP Organic Initiative is a special pool of money offered in all 50 states for farmers who are organic, transitioning to organic, or organic exempt with unique practices and payments determined by each individual state.
NRCS in Alabama, which administers EQIP, is setting aside a separate pool of EQIP money to help Alabama organic farmers and those that are transitioning to organic production. While EQIP has always been available for organic producers to treat resource concerns on their land, with the provisions of the new Farm Bill, specific funds are being set aside to assist organic producers.
Participants eligible to receive a higher payment rate than regular EQIP, are limited resource farmers, beginning farmers, and socially disadvantaged groups. For more information go to the national NRCS site (will open in a new window).
All states offer Conservation Activity Planning for the Transition to Organic. The Transition plan provides a road map for future conservation cost-share activities to enhance organic agriculture on each farm.
NRCS staff have had training to help organic farmers access this opportunity for financial assistance. Experimenting with new cover crops and crop rotations, installing intensive grazing infrastructure (grazing plans, internal fencing, walkways, water lines), establishing wildlife and pollinator friendly habitat, and high tunnels are examples of potential practices available for funding under this program.
Applications for EQIP are taken continuously throughout the year.
Participants may elect to hire a Technical Service Provider (TSP) to develop a Transition to Organic System Plan.
These documents require Adobe Reader.
Practice Payment Schedules (Under Additional EQIP Resources)
More information related to the criteria for this plan (.pdf, 33 KB).
Additional information about EQIP, conservation planning, and other programs to help you protect your farm is available on the Alabama EQIP website.
Contact your local Service Center for further guidelines and details about the program in your area.
Alabama NRCS State Office Contacts:
Programs: Steve Musser, USDA–NRCS, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, phone: (334) 887-4503
Technical: Shannon Weaver, USDA–NRCS, Assistant State Conservationist for Technology, phone: (334) 887-4533