Funding Still Available for USDA's Organic Initiative
DES MOINES, IOWA, March 5, 2012—USDA is providing Iowa certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic production another 2012 funding opportunity to implement resource conservation practices on their agricultural operations.
Organic Initiative funding is provided through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (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.
While applications are accepted on a continuous basis, the cutoff date for this application period is March 30, 2012.
Eligible conservation practices include planting cover crops, establishing new crop rotations, 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.
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 must submit applications through their local NRCS Service Center. More information about the Organic Initiative is available online atwww.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/OrganicInitiative.html.
Dave Brommel, Iowa EQIP Coordinator