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News Release

USDA Announces Funding Opportunity for Organic Producers to Implement Conservation Practices

NEWS

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
1221 College Park Drive, Suite 100
Dover, Delaware 19904
 
For More Information:

Sally Kepfer, 302-678-4182
Dastina Johnson, 302-678-4179

USDA Announces Funding Opportunity for Organic Producers to Implement Conservation Practices

DOVER, Del., April 12, 2011 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing another funding opportunity for certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic production to implement conservation practices on their agricultural operations. Producers now have until May 20 to apply for financial assistance in fiscal year 2011.

“This additional opportunity will allow more organic growers to get assistance in protecting the natural resources on their land and creating conditions that help foster organic production,” said NRCS State Conservationist Russell Morgan.

A total of $410,000 is available this year to help Delaware producers plan and implement conservation practices in ways that are consistent with organic production.  Conservation practices include planting cover crops, establishing integrated pest management plans, constructing seasonal high tunnels, and 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 farm production while improving environmental quality.  The 2008 Farm Bill provided assistance specifically for organic farm operations and those converting to organic production.

Under EQIP Organic Initiative contracts, NRCS provides financial payments and technical assistance to help producers implement conservation measures in keeping with organic production.  Beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged producers may obtain additional assistance.  The 2008 Farm Bill limits EQIP payments for organic operations to $20,000 per year per person or legal entity, with a maximum total of $80,000 over six years.

Producers interested in applying for EQIP Organic Initiative funding can submit applications anytime through their local NRCS Service Center.  In Sussex County, call 302-856-3990 x 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600 x 3; in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100 x 3, or visit the Delaware NRCS Web site at
www.de.nrcs.usda.gov

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