DOVER, Del., February 17, 2010 - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the timeline to apply for a special Organic Initiative, available through the agency’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Organic producers and those transitioning to organic now have until March 12, 2010, to apply for the current round of funding consideration during fiscal year 2010.
Producers awarded contracts under this initiative will receive 75 percent of the average cost of conservation practices, which is higher than the standard 50 percent. Beginning farmers, limited resource farmers, and individuals who are members of socially disadvantaged groups may be eligible for 90 percent cost share. Organic and transitioning producers can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years through this initiative. Organic producers may also apply for assistance under general EQIP.
“Assisting organic producers is one of our top priorities in Delaware. By extending the initiative to these producers, we hope to encourage more organic agriculture production statewide,” said Russell Morgan, State Conservationist for NRCS in Delaware.
The Organic Initiative includes cost share for more than two dozen conservation practices, including conservation crop rotation, cover crop, nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, forest harvest management and the new pilot practice, high tunnels.
NRCS encourages organic producers and those transitioning to organic production to contact their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible to learn more about this opportunity before the March 12, 2010 deadline.
Additional information on the initiative and all Delaware NRCS programs and services are available online at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/. In Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3.
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