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Organics

New Hampshire's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) -
Organic Agriculture Initiative
 

The Organic Initiative is designed to assist participants implementing a variety of conservation practices including crop rotation, cover crop, field border, pasture and hay planting, pest management, nutrient management, seasonal high tunnels, and organic transition plans. Many practices directly supporting an organic/transition farming operation are being offered at higher payment rates than standard NRCS program rates. In addition, organic producers who are already certified can receive EQIP assistance to apply new conservation practices to their operation to treat natural resource concerns. Those applying for this special funding will be competing only among other organic/transitioning farmers.

Assistance is available for agricultural producers who are:

  • currently certified organic farmers

  • transitioning to certified organic production

  • meeting organic certification standards but are exempt from certification because of their gross annual organic sales are less than $5,000

Please contact your local NRCS Office to start the planning and application process.

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The Initiative provides EQIP conservation payments to:
  • Farmers just beginning to transition to certified organic production

  • Farmers already in the process of transitioning to certified organic production; Existing certified organic farmers who are transitioning additional acres or herds

  • Existing certified organic farmers who need to adopt additional conservation measures to fully address particular natural resource and environmental concerns

  • Existing certified organic farmers who want to both transition additional production and adopt additional conservation measures on existing certified organic ground (a combination of the third and fourth bullet point)
     

 

What are the Benefits to You for Organic Farming? 

Farmers can apply for and receive funding for all of the regular EQIP program offerings, along with special EQIP options available only to certified organic farmers or farmers who are transitioning to organic farming. This funding allows contracts of up to $20,000 per year, not to exceed $80,000 total over a 6-year period. Producers with organic operations do not compete against non-organic farmers for these special funds, and payment rates for some core practices (Conservation Crop Rotation, Cover Crop, Nutrient Management, Pest Management, Prescribed Grazing, Conservation Cover, Field Border, Riparian Herbaceous Cover, Riparian Forested Buffer, Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops, and Windbreak) may be higher than rates for non-organic applications.

Payments are not authorized for activities or practice components which are solely production related and are not limited  to an indentified resource concern. Payments may not be used for any cost related to organic agriculture.

 

Producer Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet basic EQIP Eligibility Requirements and be transitioning to Organic Certification or already be a Certified Organic operation or qualify as exempt from certification.  To comply with the EQIP regulation, producers applying as Transitioning to Organic must self-certify that they agree to develop and implement an Organic System Plan (OSP) and provide NRCS the contact information of the applicant’s USDA accredited organic certifying agent before an EQIP contract can be approved. 

Applicants must have or be willing to develop an Organic System Plan (OSP) on their land.

Application and Eligibility Documents.


General Program Information

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  • Individuals, groups and entities who own or manage certified organic operations or operations that are transitioning to certified organic are eligible to apply.

  • Contracts can last from 2 to 10 years.

  • Payments are limited to $20,000 per participant annually or $80,000 over a 6 year period.

  • There is no minimum acreage requirement to apply for EQIP, however, projects that address significant resource concerns are more likely to receive funding.

  • Beginning, socially disadvantaged and limited-resource farmers may be eligible for higher payment rates. Click on the links to find out if you are eligible.

  • Participants will be reimbursed for part of the cost of installing conservation practices after the practices have been installed. Many participants choose to finance associated costs through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), or other private lending agencies. Beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers may be eligible to receive up to 30 percent of their NRCS payments in advance for purchasing materials or contracting.

  • You may sign up for this program at any time through your local NRCS office. Applications are accepted all year, but are reviewed in a competitive ranking process when funding becomes available - usually once each year.

 

NH Organic ContactBrandon Smith, Agronomist, (603) 868-7581