Iowa's organic farmers are implementing long standing and new, innovative conservation practices to protect the natural resources on their farms through a USDA initiative to help producers of all commodities meet their conservation goals. The 2014 Farm Bill specifically includes help to organic producers through the Organic Initiative.
Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) the Organic Initiative provides financial assistance to National Organic Program (NOP) certified producers, as well as producers in the process of transitioning to organic production.
Organic producers applying through this initiative can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years. Farmers may also compete for the larger pool of EQIP funds that allow for up to $300,000 over six years.
EQIP is administered through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Program applications are accepted on a continuous basis at NRCS offices across the state. NRCS offices are stationed at USDA Service Centers in every county in Iowa.
NRCS accepts and processes EQIP applications on a continuous basis. However, NRCS sets dates to prioritize applications as funding allows. The batching and ranking of applications for fiscal year 2016 is Oct. 16, 2015. A second application cutoff deadline has been established for March 18, 2016. Additional application batching dates may be established if necessary. Contact your local NRCS office for more details.