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Organic Conservation Farming Factsheet

Organic Conservation Farming Factsheet

Overview

Organic farming is one of the fastest growing segments in U.S. agriculture. From 1992 through 2005, the acres of certified organic cropland rose from 403,000 to more than 1.7 million; organically certified pasture acres rose from 532,000 to over 4 million; and the total number of organic certified livestock rose from 11,000 in 1992 to over 196,000.

Legislative Changes

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) highlights the availability of financial and technical assistance to help producers of all commodities, including organic farming, meet their conservation goals.

Conservation Planning

For more than 70 years the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS—formerly the Soil Conservation Service) has placed a high priority on helping agricultural producers meet their environmental and economic goals, while concurrently protecting soil, water, air, and wildlife resources. NRCS conservationists work with farmers to develop conservation plans based on scientifically sound alternatives for accomplishing their goals and working out a timeline to implement the conservation practices in the plan.

NRCS assistance is available at no charge. All information provided to NRCS for conservation planning purposes is strictly confidential.

Implementation of conservation plans may be partially funded through Farm Bill programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

EQIP for Organic Transition and More

EQIP provides payments for farmers to implement conservation practices on working lands. Practices that are already in place on the land are not eligible for payment.

Farmers who want to apply for financial assistance to transition to organic agriculture may receive assistance under a new provision of the EQIP program that allows producers to apply for up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years.

Producers who are currently certified as organic are also eligible for EQIP under the general provisions. If they have comprehensive conservation systems on their farm should be well-positioned to participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CStP).

Organic producers are required to develop and carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP) that is approved by a certifying agent. Applicants 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.

EQIP is a competitive program (one out of every two to three applications is funded on the average) and projects are ranked for environmental benefits; producers addressing more resource concerns for the lowest cost have a higher chance of receiving funds.

For More Information

Some of these documents require Adobe Acrobat. Acrobat Icon
Caribbean Area Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Information
National Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Information
Acrobat IconNational Conservation Stewardship Program (CStP) Information

For additional information, please contact NRCS Caribbean Area Conservation Agronomist, Carlos E. Morganti at 787-831-3416.