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News Release

NRCS Announces Funding for Organic Initiative in North Dakota

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January 3, 2011

For More Information:
Arlene Deutscher, Public Affairs Specialist, 701-530-2099
Jennifer Heglund, Assistant State Conservationist, 701-530-2095


BISMARCK – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Paul Sweeney has announced that USDA will provide funding to help organic producers and those transitioning to organic production implement resource conservation practices on their agricultural operations. In North Dakota, $1.2 million in financial assistance is available to producers. Producers have the opportunity to apply for Organic Initiative funding until March 4, 2011.

Organic Initiative funding is provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a voluntary conservation program administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. The 2008 Farm Bill provided for assistance specifically for organic farm operations and those converting to organic production.

Fiscal year 2011 marks the third year of USDA's Organic Initiative, and up to $50 million nationally is available this year for producers to plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns in ways that are consistent with organic production. For example, organic producers may use the funding to plant cover crops, establish integrated pest management plans, or implement 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 Organic Initiative contracts, producers are paid 75 percent of the cost for the organic conservation measures they implement. Beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged producers are paid 90 percent. The program provides up to $20,000 per year per person or legal entity, with a maximum total of $80,000 over six years.

For more information about this initiative and other NRCS conservation programs, visit the North Dakota NRCS Programs webpage, or your local USDA Service Center.


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