Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

News

USDA NRCS Encourages Producers in Kansas to Apply for EQIP ACT NOW Organic Transition Assistance

organic produce growing in high tunnel

Kansas producers interested in participating in Organic Transition Initiative are encouraged to apply by March 9, 2024.

SALINA, KANSAS, Wednesday, February 21, 2024 ‒ The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is encouraging farmers and ranchers in Kansas to participate in the Organic Transition Initiative (OTI), a department-wide effort to support agricultural producers interested in transitioning to organic. Producers beginning or in the process of transitioning to organic certification are encouraged to apply at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Service Center by Saturday, March 9, 2024.  If the State ranking date is missed, applications will be considered for the next future funding period.

“Organic growers face a unique set of production challenges that our technical assistance and Farm Bill Programs can help address with real conservation solutions tailored fit for your farm.  Agricultural producers transitioning to organic are a natural fit for us,” Kansas State Conservationist David Doctorian said.  “The Organic Transition Initiative can also assist producers in gaining organic knowledge through education and mentoring.  Right now, it is a great time to apply for conservation assistance as we have additional funding for our popular programs from the Inflation Reduction Act.”

NRCS and Organic Transition Initiative

NRCS introduced a new organic management conservation practice in fiscal year 2023 as part of the initiative.  It allows flexibility for producers to get the assistance and education they need, such as attending workshops or requesting help from experts or mentors.  It also supports organic conservation activities, practices required for organic certifications, and may provide foregone income reimbursement for dips in production during the transition period.  Higher payment rates and other options are available for underserved producers including socially disadvantaged, beginning, veteran and limited resource farmers and ranchers.

In 2023, NRCS invested $12 million in 22 states to work with 100-plus transitioning operations.

Other USDA Organic Assistance

In addition to NRCS, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Risk Management Agency are the primary agencies that have supported OTI.  For example, in January, AMS awarded $9.75 million in Organic Market Development Grants to support the development and expansion of new and existing organic markets and the agency’s Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) is a network assembled by the USDA’s National Organic Program to support transitioning and organic producers with mentorship and resources. TOPP is segmented into six regions that span the United States and territories working together to grow the network of organic producers.

OTI also complements existing assistance for organic producers.  The Farm Service Agency Organic Certification Cost Share Program provides cost share for producers who obtain or renew their organic certification.  NRCS provides technical and financial assistance for conservation practices that are popular among organic as well as traditional producers, including cover crops, integrated pest management, drip irrigation, high tunnels, and rotational grazing.  Learn more on NRCS’ Organic Agriculture webpage.

To learn more about NRCS programs, producers can contact their local USDA Service Center.  Producers can also apply for NRCS programs, manage conservation plans and contracts, and view and print conservation maps by logging into their farmers.gov account. If you don’t have an account, sign up today.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways.  Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.

#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.