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EQIP Organic Initiative

2016 EQIP National Organic Initiative in New Mexico

Conservation funding is available to organic producers and those transitioning to organic production in New Mexico. Financial and technical assistance is available through the National Organic Initiative (NOI) under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

NRCS accepts EQIP applications year round.  The application deadline to be considered for funding in Fiscal Year 2016 is January 15, 2016. 

EQIP is a voluntary program that provides assistance to growers and landowners who want to plan and install measures to protect the soil, water, air and other natural resources on their working land. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP.

The EQIP Organic Initiative signup is a nationwide special initiative to provide financial assistance to National Organic Program (NOP) certified organic producers, producers in the process of transitioning to organic production, and those exempt from certification under the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. Organic producers may also apply for assistance under the General EQIP program and other initiatives that are applicable to the farming operation.

Program payments for EQIP contracts in the National Organic Initiative are limited to $20,000 per fiscal year and $80,000 total during any 6-year period for a contract participant.

Technical and Financial Assistance

Through the EQIP Organic Initiative signup, farmers, ranchers and dairy operators may apply for financial assistance and technical expertise to plan and install conservation measures, such as:

  • Conservation Crop Rotation,
  • Cover Crops,
  • Field Borders,
  • Mulching,
  • Nutrient Management,
  • Integrated Pest Management,
  • Residue Management

Growers may not receive EQIP payments for conservation work they have already undertaken.

Growers who are in the process of transitioning to organic production may sign up for a Transition to Organic Conservation Activity Plan (CAP 138).  The CAP 138 is prepared by a NRCS-certified technical service provider (TSP) who assists with identifying natural resource concerns and practices to address the concerns.

Technical Service Providers must not start work until funding has been approved by NRCS.  For more information on CAP’s: New Mexico Conservation Activity Plan webpage


To be eligible for the program, applicants must be farmers or ranchers who have control of the land and meet other EQIP program requirements. For more detailed information, go to: New Mexico EQIP Eligibility

Eligible land uses for the Organic Initiative are Crop, Pasture, Range, Forest and Farmstead

Applicants in this initiatives must complete the Organic Self-Certification Worksheet and agree to the following terms:

  • Certified Organic Producer -- must provide NRCS with a copy of their organic certification and must maintain their certification for the life of the contract.
  • Transition Organic Producer -- must self-certify that they agree to develop and implement an Organic System Plan (OSP).
  • Organic Producers selling less than $5,000 per year will need to self-certify that they agree to develop and implement an Organic System Plan (OSP).

The document below requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  National Organic Self-Certification Worksheet for FY 2016 (PDF; 17 KB)

How to Apply

To participate in the program, growers must work with NRCS to identify resource concerns on the operation and conservation practices to address the resource concerns. NRCS works with farmers and ranchers to develop a Conservation Plan/EQIP Schedule of Operations that includes a detailed description of the conservation activities and practices they want to implement on their land. 

Please contact the District Conservationist in the USDA Service Center nearest the location of your property to request technical assistance with developing an EQIP Conservation Plan/Schedule of Operations.
For an application form and more information on how to apply go to:

New Mexico EQIP Homepage

Funding Selection and Priorities

Priorities for EQIP funding are based on identified natural resource concerns that are consistent with state and national EQIP priorities. Applications that best address natural resource concerns as described in the ranking criteria are prioritized for funding.  Applications that are selected for funding will be reimbursed for contracted practices according to the payment rate for the conservation practice scenario.  Historically Underserved participants will receive the payment rate that is prefaced by (HU) on the payment schedule. 

The documents below require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

For More Information

NRCS Organic Webpage

NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative National Webpage


Kristin Graham Chavez
Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
6200 Jefferson N.E., Suite 305
Albuquerque, NM 87109-3434
(505)761-4404 voice
(855)538-6003 fax

Athena Cholas
Resource Conservationist for Programs
6200 Jefferson N.E., Suite 305
Albuquerque, NM 87109-3434
(505)761-4419 voice
(855)538-6003 fax