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Organic Operations and Transitioning to Organic

Cart full of pruple and yellow bell peppers

The 2008 Farm Bill included provisions for the use of EQIP funds to provide financial and technical assistance dollars to help program participants address resource concerns for organic operations. This assistance also helps producers meet requirements related to the National Organic Program (NOP). The NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative provides financial assistance to implement approved conservation practices to address significant resource concerns.

NRCS works with the applicant to address natural resource concerns on their eligible agricultural land. Conservation practices such as cover crops, nutrient management, no-till, stripcropping and others practices are supported in this initiative.

Some highlights of the organic provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill and associated regulatory changes include:

  • Assistance for conservation practices and planning related to addressing resource concerns as part of organic production
  • Assistance is limited to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six year period
  • Producers will develop and work toward implementing an Organic System Plan (OSP)
  • Producers must have or be pursing organic certification

Who Can Apply

Eligible producers include persons, legal entities, Indian Tribes, or joint operations who are engaged in ag production in one of the following categories:

  • Certified Organic Operations
  • Transitioning to Organic Operations
  • Exempt from Certification (Organic Producers selling less than $5000 organic products annually)

Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, and other farm or ranch lands.

Producers must submit a program application and other documentation to support eligibility to be considered for financial assistance through EQIP. For more detail regarding eligibility and application requirements contact your local NRCS field office.

EQIP Application Information

Applications for the EQIP Organic Initiative are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the fiscal year; however, NRCS has established specific dates where eligible applications will be evaluated, ranked, and approved for funding. In order for an application to be considered for funding during a particular batching period the applicant must have the following item completed by the application cut-off date:

 

Publications

Organic Producer Profiles (PDF, 3,938KB)

Additional Assistance

For more information visit your local USDA Service Center, or visit the USDA-NRCS Organic Initiative Website.