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News Release

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Accepting 2014 EQIP Organic and High Tunnel Applications through May 16, 2014, (2nd Sign-up Period)

Little Rock, Ark., April 8, 2014 – Farmers and landowners in Arkansas have until May 16, 2014, to submit applications to receive financial assistance to implement conservation activities through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program’s (EQIP) Organic and High Tunnel Initiatives for the 2014 program year. Applicants can sign up at their local U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field service center.

Individuals and other entities engaged in livestock and/or crop production are eligible to participate. Eligible land includes cropland, pasture, private non-industrial forest land, and other farm and ranch lands.

Seasonal High Tunnels

A seasonal high tunnel is a polyethylene covered structure with no electrical, heating, and/or mechanical ventilation systems. It is used to cover crops to extend the growing season and improve plant, soil and water quality.

Benefits of high tunnels include:

  • Allows management of crops during inclement weather
  • Frost protection
  • Wind protection
  • Insect protection
  • Rain shelter - reducing some moisture-related plant diseases
  • Improved crop yield, quality and size
  • Extended growing season 

Organic Initiative

Organic production is a system managed in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program. The program is designed in part to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.

The Organic Initiative provides financial assistance to implement a broad set of conservation practices to assist certified organic producers and producers transitioning from non-organic to organic farming in addressing resource concerns including, but not limited to assistance with:

  • Developing a conservation plan
  • Establishing buffer zones
  • Planning and installing pollinator habitat
  • Improving soil quality and organic matter while minimizing erosion
  • Developing a grazing plan and supportive livestock practices
  • Improving irrigation efficiency
  • Enhancing cropping rotations and nutrient management

Socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource farmers, Indian tribes and veterans are eligible for a higher payment rate.

For more information, contact the local USDA/NRCS field service center.