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Missouri EQIP Organic Initiative

USDA Organic Logo

Organic food sales remain the fastest growing sector in the food industry, swelling by 18 percent in 2007. Organic food sales more than tripled, to $1.7 billion in 2007 from $393 million in 2002, according to USDA's Agriculture Census.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 provides funding specifically to help organic farmers and those agricultural producers transitioning to organic farming.

Audio image Learn more about how EQIP can help you as an organic farmer.  Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, Curt McDaniel, provides some brief points for organics in EQIP.

Who Does the EQIP Organic Initiative Target?

Eligible producers are:

  • Producers who are currently USDA certified organic producers
  • Producers who are transitioning to become USDA certified organic producers
  • Producers who are certification exempt (organic producers who sell less than $5,000 worth of product per year) 

What is the EQIP Organic Initiative?

Through the EQIP Organic Initiative, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to eligible producers for installation of conservation practices on organic or transitioning agricultural land.  The assistance from NRCS through the EQIP Organic program helps producers plan and implement conservation practices to achieve increased conservation benefits on their operations.  EQIP is primarily used to provide financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices that address soil, water, air, plant, animal and energy resource concerns.    

Assistance for Transitioning to Organic

What is Technical Assistance?

For more than 70 years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has placed a high priority on helping agricultural producers with conservation plans to meet their environmental and economic goals, while at the same time planning for the protection of the soil, water, air and wildlife resources. 

Conservation goals are highly individual and may include transitioning to organic agriculture, improving pollinator habitat, increasing biodiversity above and below the soil, enhancing water quality, or controlling invasive species.

NRCS conservationists will come to your farm and work with you to develop a conservation plan based upon your farm goals.  The plan will specify a timeline to implement the conservation practices.  Conservation planning assistance is free and does not require participating in financial programs. 

All information provided to NRCS for conservation planning purposes is strictly confidential.

What is Financial Assistance?

EQIP promotes resource conservation and environmental quality.  Through EQIP, NRCS helps producers install structural conservation practices and to implement management systems that promote conservation.  Practices could include planting cover crops, establishing integrated pest management plans, constructing seasonal high tunnels, or implementing nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification standards.  Successful applicants will develop contracts with the NRCS to receive financial assistance for the installation of conservation practices. These practices are to assist organic producers or transitioning producers to meet the objectives of their conservation goals. 

Financial assistance payments are not authorized for activities or practice components which are solely production related and are not linked to an identified resource concern.  Also, financial assistance through NRCS does not include costs for organic certification.

Farmers or ranchers who want to apply for financial assistance may receive up to $20,000 per year and are limited to $80,000 over a six-year period under the Organic Initiative.

John RiceEQIP Initiative Success Story: John Rice

Missouri organic producer John Rice has worked with NRCS to improve his grazing management



Eligibility for Financial Assistance

To participate in the EQIP Organic Initiative you must be:

  • A USDA Certified Organic Producer
  • OR A Producer transitioning to become USDA Certified Organic
  • OR A producer who is certification exempt (organic producers who sell less than $5,000 worth of product per year)


  • An agricultural producer that is engaged in livestock or agricultural production that produces and/or sells $1,000 worth of agricultural products annually. 
  • Must own or have control of the land (by lease or rental agreement) for the length of the EQIP contract
  • May be an individual, entity or joint operation
  • Must be in compliance with the highly-erodible land (HEL) and wetland conservation provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985
  • Must be in compliance with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) requirements

How Do I Get Started?

The first step is to make contact with your local USDA Service Center.  You can use the USDA Service Center Locator to find your local NRCS field office or look in your local phone book under the federal government listings. 

It is advisable to call in advance of your visit to make sure that a NRCS representative will be available to assist in answering your questions.

What Do I Bring With Me? 

If you are interested in participating in the EQIP Organic Initiative and applying for financial assistance

If you are a Certified Organic Producer:

  • Proof of ownership or control of land
  • Your Organic System Plan (OSP)

If you are Transitioning to Organic Production:

  • Proof of ownership  or control of land
  • The name of the USDA-accredited certifying agent you have contacted to begin the organic certification process

If you are a certification exempt organic producer (producers who sell less than $5,000 worth of product per year)

  • Proof of ownership or control of land
  • Documentation that your gross farm sales are less than $5,000

You will be asked to complete the following documentation:

  • CCC-1200 Conservation Program Application and Appendix to the CCC-1202
  • AD-1026 Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification
  • CCC-901 Member's Information (for entities only)
  • CCC-926 Adjusted Gross Income Certification
  • SF-1199 Direct Deposit Form (if your application is funded)

For More Information

National NRCS Organic Initiative Website
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service - National Organic Program

Missouri Organic Association

National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service


Curt McDaniel, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
USDA NRCS State Office
Parkade Center, Suite 250
601 Business Loop, 70 West
Columbia, MO 65203
Phone: 573-876-9363

Lauren Cartwright, EQIP Program Manager
NRCS Organic Coordinator
USDA NRCS State Office
Parkade Center, Suite 250
601 Business Loop 70 West
Columbia, MO 65203
Phone: (573) 876-9415