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EQIP Organic Initiative

bushel of cucumbers, green beans and zucchini

A example of organic produce.

What Is The Organic Initiative?

The Organic Initiative provides financial assistance to implement a broad set of conservation practices to assist organic producers in addressing resource concerns including, but not limited to assistance with:

  • Developing a conservation plan
  • Establishing buffer zones
  • Planning and installing pollinator habitat
  • Improving soil quality and organic matter while minimizing erosion
  • Developing a grazing plan and supportive livestock practices
  • Improving irrigation efficiency
  • Enhancing cropping rotations and nutrient management

The  EQIP Organic Initiative

This assistance helps producers plan and implement conservation practices to support the environmental sustainability of their organic operations. Some highlights of the organic provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill and requirements for participation in the program include:

  • Financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices and planning to address resource concerns associated with organic operations
  • Financial assistance is limited to totals of a maximum of $20,000 per fiscal year AND no more than $80,000 over a rolling six year Farm Bill for ALL contracts approved through this authority
  • Producers must meet all the other eligibility requirements associated with EQIP
  • Participants who are not certified or exempt from certification agree to develop and work towards implementing an Organic System Plan (OSP) to meet NOP organic certification through USDA

Who Can Apply

Each fiscal year, NRCS will focus financial and technical assistance through the EQIP Organic Initiative for eligible applicants and land. The applicant must demonstrate control of eligible land in agricultural production. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, and other farm or ranch lands. Applicants should use the following categories to identify their current or future production system.

Certified Organic

Certified organic producers shall provide NRCS with a copy of their USDA NOP Organic Certificate or proof of good standing from a USDA accredited certifying agent and certification must be maintained for the life of the EQIP contract.

Exempt from Certification of the National Organic Program (NOP)

Exempt producers who are selling less than $5,000 a year in organic agricultural products are exempt from NOP’s certification. Exempt organic producers are eligible for the EQIP Organic Initiative provided that they self-certify that they agree to develop and implement an OSP.

Transitioning to Organic

Participants who are transitioning to organic production shall self-certify that they agree to develop and work toward implementing an Organic System Plan (OSP).

How To Apply For EQIP

New to NRCS?

If you are completely new to NRCS, please see Getting Started with NRCS.

Familiar with NRCS?

If you are more familiar with NRCS contact your local NRCS field office for more details about eligibility requirements or click below for a link to your State's EQIP homepage:

Show State Office EQIP Links

NRCS staff will work with you, the program applicant, to develop a conservation plan and an EQIP plan of operations. This plan becomes the basis of the EQIP contract between you, the participant and NRCS.

When to Apply

Applications for the EQIP Organic Initiative are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the fiscal year. However, State Conservationists may establish up to 8 evaluation periods for financial assistance programs. Evaluation periods may vary by initiative based on available funding by State.

Although EQIP supports a wide variety of conservation practices, not all practices are appropriate in all areas. Your local NRCS field office will have a list of the specific practices offered in your State as part of the Organic Initiative.

Supplemental Resources

NRCS Resources

Conservation Stewardship Program

Conservation Activity Plan 138 on the 2015 EQIP CAP page

Other USDA Agency Websites

Agricultural Marketing Service's National Organic Program

USDA Extension Service's Organic Production website