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Organic turkeys in Winneshiek County, Iowa.

Organic Transition Initiative - Iowa

EQIP

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is NRCS’ flagship conservation program that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners integrate conservation into working lands.

NRCS offers financial and technical assistance to farmers choosing to implement a new organic management standard. This is in addition to the existing NRCS assistance for organic and transitioning producers including conservation planning, conservation practice implementation and financial assistance for all offered conservation practices.

Eligible Land Uses

Crop, Associated Ag Land, Farmstead, Pasture, Forest

Primary Resource Concerns

  • Air quality emissions
  • Degraded plant condition
  • Field pesticide loss
  • Livestock production limitation
  • Pest pressure
  • Soil quality limitations
  • Terrestrial habitat
  • Wind and water erosion

Practices

  • 823 Organic Management
  • 140 Transition to Organic Design (DIA)
  • 327 Conservation Cover
  • 328 Conservation Crop Rotation
  • 340 Cover Crop
  • 386 Field Border
  • 590 Nutrient Management

When to Apply

Program applications are accepted on a continual basis. However, NRCS establishes application ranking dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. Applications received after the ranking date will be automatically deferred to the next funding period. The next cutoff date for OTI applications to batched and ranked is March 1, 2024.

  • For OTI, NRCS is using the ACT NOW process with a threshold of 5.

Additional Resources

Additional Information

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm number.

If you don’t have a farm number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.