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EQIP and Organic Farming Factsheet

EQIP and Organic Farming Factsheet (en Español)

photo of row crops in Puerto RicoThe 2008 Farm Bill highlights the availability of financial and technical assistance to help producers of all commodities meet their conservation goals, including producers transitioning to organic farming and currently certified organic producers. The assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the EQIP program helps producers plan and implement conservation practices to allow their organic operations to be environmentally sustainable. EQIP is primarily used to provide financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices to address soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources. A new organic provision targets organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production:

  • photo of tilling row cropsAssistance is for conservation practices related to organic production.
  • Assistance is limited to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six year period.
  • Producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP) or carry out practices consistent with an OSP.
  • Producers must be pursing an organic certification or in compliance with their organic certification.
  • Applications for this initiative will be accepted until April 15, 2011 in all NRCS offices in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For locations and telephone numbers of our offices please visit http://www.pr.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/fieldlist.htm.

    Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements of the USDA and must have their farms registered in the Farm Services Agency Offices (FSA), if you are not registered please contact the FSA office that serves your area as soon as possible.

    Also you may visit the USDA-NRCS Farm Bill web page for more information.

    Practice Guideline 2011 EQIP NRCS, Caribbean Area Conservation Crop Rotation (328) Transition to Organic Certification

    photo of organically-grown peppersThis conservation crop rotation payment assists producers in transition to organic certification during the three-year period when land must be farmed organically but is not yet certified organic. This payment is for producers of fruit, nut, vegetable, and other intensively farmed field crops where a change in rotation will occur. A currently certified producer may use this practice to bring currently non-certified acres into certification. The producer must agree to develop and implement conservation practices for certified organic production that are consistent with an Organic System Plan (OSP).

    Payment is limited during the three-year transition period. If an enrolled field has already completed one or more years of the three-year transition period, those years are not eligible for payment.

    Certified organic producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP) that is approved by a certifying agent. Currently certified organic farmers will need to include their OSP as part of their EQIP application. An NRCS conservationist will then develop a conservation plan that is consistent with the OSP. Producers transitioning to organic production must agree to operate consistent with an OSP. A certifying agent list is available at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/CertifyingAgents/Accredited.html.

    Funding is available for a large number of conservation practices for organic producers using EQIP including:

  • cover crops,
  • crop rotation,
  • integrated pest management,
  • wind breaks,
  • filter strips,
  • fence,
  • livestock water sources,
  • rotational grazing,
  • and more!
  • STEPS TO TAKE

  • Visit the NRCS office at your local USDA Service Center to discuss resource concerns and develop a conservation plan.
  • If  you don’t have a tract number or farm number, contact the Farm Service Agency office at your local USDA Service Center to make an appointment to establish eligibility for USDA programs. (Specific documentation will be required.)
  • Visit the NRCS Caribbean Area Field Office Directory to find your local USDA Service Center.

    MORE INFORMATION

    For more information and updates about EQIP and other Farm Bill topics, visit the USDA Web site: http://www.usda.gov/farmbill or the Caribbean Area NRCS Web site.