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Organic Initiative

The Organic Initiative is a nationwide special initiative to provide financial assistance to National Organic Program (NOP) certified organic producers as well as producers in the process of transitioning to organic production. Organic producers may also apply for assistance under general EQIP.  Review our summary of how to become an organic producer. 

Useful Links & Documents for Applicants:

The National Organic Program: www.ams.usda.gov/nop

Virginia Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services:www.vdacs.virginia.gov/marketing/organic.shtml

 

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service - Organic Certification Fact Sheet (pdf, 67 KB)

For FY2014, Virginia has allocated $35,000.00 to assist USDA Certified Organic producers, and those wishing to transition to USDA Certified Organic production with addressing their soil, water, and plant resource concerns. Ranking criteria was established based on resource concerns that link to the NOP objectives.

The Initiative provided 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;
  • and 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).

SPECIAL FUNDING POOLS

Farmer applications to this special Initiative will be treated as two separate ranking pools, one for transitioning farmers without any current certified organic production, and one for existing certified organic farmers who are either adding new transitional production or adopting new conservation measures on existing organic production. In both cases, those in these special funding pools will be competing only against others in the special pool rather than in the much, much larger general EQIP pool.

As provided by law, there is a $20,000 per year ($80,000 over 6 years) payment limit for applications within this special pool.

Available Practices for the Organic Initiative

• 138 Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition • 313 Waste Storage Facility • 314 Brush Management • 315 Herbaceous Weed Control • 316 Animal Mortality Facility • 317 Composting Facility • 327 Conservation Cover • 328 Conservation Crop Rotation • 329 Residue Mgmt-No-Till/Strip Till/Direct Seed • 330 Contour Farming • 332 Contour Buffer Strips • 338 Prescribed Burning • 340 Cover Crop • 342 Critical Area Planting • 345 Residue Mgmt, Mulch Til • 362 Diversion • 367 Roofs and Covers • 378 Pond • 380 Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment • 381 Silvopasture Establishment • 382 Fence • 386 Field Border • 390 Riparian Herbaceous Cover • 391 Riparian Forest Buffer • 393 Filter Strip • 410 Grade Stabilization Structure • 412 Grassed Waterway • 422 Hedgerow Planting • 430 Irrigation Pipeline • 441 Irrigation System, Microirrigation • 449 Irrigation Water Management • 468 Lined Waterway or Outlet • 472 Access Control • 484 Mulching • 512 Forage and Biomass Planting • 516 Livestock Pipeline • 521A Pond Sealing or Lining, Flexible Membrane • 521C Pond Sealing or Lining, Bentonite Sealant • 521D Pond Sealing - Clay Treatment • 528 Prescribed Grazing • 533 Pumping Plant • 558 Roof Runoff Structure • 560 Access Road • 561 Heavy Use Area Protection • 574 Spring Development • 575 Animal Trails and Walkways • 578 Stream Crossing • 585Stripcropping • 587Structure for Water Control • 590 Nutrient Management • 595 Integrated Pest Management • 606 Subsurface Drain • 612 Tree/Shrub Establishment • 614 Watering Facility • 620 Underground Outlet • 629 Waste Treatment • 634 Waste Transfer • 642 Water Well • 798 Seasonal High Tunnel System for Crops

Ranking Periods

Farm Bill Evaluation Periods for Fiscal Year 2014

Applications for financial assistance are accepted year-round. NRCS has established four ranking periods for FY2014:

Ranking Period 1: Forestry Applications received by close of business on November 15, 2013
Ranking Period 2: All Applications received by close of business on December 20, 2013
Ranking Period 3: All Applications received by close of business on January 17, 2014
Ranking Period 4: All Applications received by close of business on February 21, 2014

EQIP Payment Schedules and Ranking Tools

The following documents require Acrobat Reader. 

FY14 EQIP Payment Schedule (PDF, 128kb)

Certified Organic Ranking Summary (PDF; 44 KB) 

Transition to Organic Ranking Summary (PDF; 44 KB)

Organic Initiative Self-Certification Worksheet for Fiscal Year 2014 (PDF, 31 KB)

As the Organic Initiative is part of EQIP, applicants must meet USDA's eligibility requirements.  Additionally, applicants agree to develop and implement conservation practices for certified organic production that are consistent with their USDA certified organic system plan (OSP). Organic system plans certified non-USDA groups or agencies are not acceptable.

Certified organic producers must provide NRCS with a copy of their OSP, in accordance with the standards established in the Organic Foods Production Act (7 U.S.C. Sections 6501 to 6522) and regulations of the National Organic Program (NOP) (7 CFR Part 205) before an EQIP contract can be approved. When developing an EQIP schedule of operations for organic production, NRCS or the TSP will address NOP requirements in the practice design to assure that planned practices are consistent with OSP standards. Organic certification must be maintained for the life of the contract. If organic certification is not maintained throughout the life of the contract, the contract may be subject to termination.

Transitioning Operations must self-certify that they agree to develop and implement an OSP. When developing an EQIP schedule of operations for organic production, NRCS or the TSP will address NOP requirements in the practice design to assure that planned practices are consistent with OSP standards. Applicants must provide NRCS with the contact information of the applicant’s USDA accredited organic certifying agent before an EQIP contract can be approved. NRCS will annually determine whether the participant is implementing practices consistent with an OSP. If a participant is not implementing practices consistent with an OSP, the contract may be subject to termination. NRCS is not authorized to enforce the provisions of the NOP, so organic certification at the completion of the EQIP contract is not required.

Local Contact:
Please contact the District Conservationist in the USDA Service Center nearest the location of your property. 

Virginia Organic Initiative Program Manager: 
Ron Wood
Phone: (804) 278-1660
Email: ron.wood@va.usda.gov
 


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