Organic Producers Eligible for Financial, Technical Help to Implement Conservation Practices
Farmers and ranchers who want to transition to certified organic production may also apply
PHOENIX, April 12, 2011– USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces another funding opportunity for certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic production to implement resource conservation practices on their agricultural operations.
While applications are accepted on a continuous basis, the cutoff date for this application period is May 20, 2011.
Fiscal year 2011 marks the third year of USDA’s Organic Initiative. Up to $50 million is available nationwide, and more than $1.3 million is available in Arizona this year. The organic program helps producers plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns in ways that are consistent with organic production. For example, conservation practices include planting cover crops, establishing integrated pest management plans, constructing seasonal high tunnels, or implementing nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification standards.
Eligible producers include those certified through USDA’s National Organic Program, those transitioning to certified organic production, and those who meet organic standards but are exempt from certification because their gross annual organic sales are less than $5,000.
Organic Initiative funding is provided through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a voluntary conservation program that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. The 2008 Farm Bill provided assistance specifically for organic farm operations and those converting to organic production.
NRCS has 24 field offices in Arizona. Find the one nearest you at www.az.nrcs.usda.gov/contact or call Dennis Kimberlin, Arizona NRCS Farm Bill Specialist, at 620-280-8800 for more information.