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Organic Initiative

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What Is The Organic Initiative?

The Organic Initiative provides financial assistance to implement a broad set of conservation practices to assist organic producers in addressing resource concerns including, but not limited to assistance with:

  • Developing a conservation plan
  • Establishing buffer zones
  • Planning and installing pollinator habitat
  • Improving soil quality and organic matter while minimizing erosion
  • Developing a grazing plan and supportive livestock practices
  • Improving irrigation efficiency
  • Enhancing cropping rotations and nutrient management

What kinds of assistance is covered through EQIP?

This assistance helps producers plan and implement conservation practices to support the environmental sustainability of their organic operations. Some highlights of the organic provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill and requirements for participation in the program include:

  • Financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices and planning to address resource concerns associated with organic operations
  • Financial assistance is limited to totals of a maximum of $20,000 per fiscal year AND no more than $80,000 over a rolling six year Farm Bill for ALL contracts approved through this authority
  • Producers must meet all the other eligibility requirements associated with EQIP
  • Participants who are not certified or exempt from certification agree to develop and work towards implementing an Organic System Plan (OSP) to meet NOP organic certification through USDA

Who Can Apply?

Each fiscal year, NRCS will focus financial and technical assistance through the EQIP Organic Initiative for eligible applicants and land. The applicant must demonstrate control of eligible land in agricultural production. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, and other farm or ranch lands. Applicants should use the following categories to identify their current or future production system.

  • Certified Organic - Certified organic producers shall provide NRCS with a copy of their USDA NOP Organic Certificate or proof of good standing from a USDA accredited certifying agent and certification must be maintained for the life of the EQIP contract.
     
  • Exempt from Certification of the National Organic Program (NOP) - Exempt producers who are selling less than $5,000 a year in organic agricultural products are exempt from NOP’s certification. Exempt organic producers are eligible for the EQIP Organic Initiative provided that they self-certify that they agree to develop and implement an OSP.
     
  • Transitioning to Organic - Participants who are transitioning to organic production shall self-certify that they agree to develop and work toward implementing an Organic System Plan (OSP).

Self-Certification Worksheet

A self-certification form must be used by each producer applying for EQIP Organic Initiative assistance showing that they meet one of the following categories: 1) Certified Organic, 2) Exempt from Certification and 3) Transitioning to Organic.

Organic Ranking Criteria

Applications for assistance are prioritized for funding based on national, state and local ranking criteria that address natural resource concerns.

More Information

 

Contacts

Mary Beth Smith
NRCS Farm Bill Specialist
1201 NE Lloyd Blvd, Suite 900
Portland, Oregon  97232
Phone:  (503) 414-3283
Email: mary.beth.smith@or.usda.gov

Denise Troxell
NRCS State Agronomist

1201 NE Lloyd Blvd, Suite 900
Portland, Oregon  97232
Phone:  (503) 414-3232
Email:  denise.troxell@or.usda.gov

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