California growers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic production may qualify for technical and financial assistance through a special initiative administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Two million dollars in funding will be available to eligible producers in California as part of the agency’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Organic producers must submit applications by January 31 for funding consideration during fiscal year 2010.
Noting that the EQIP deadline for most applicants is Jan. 15, 2010, California Assistant State Conservationist Alan Forkey said the agency was allowing a bit more time for organic and transitioning producers to develop their conservation applications but stressed they should begin the process as soon as possible. “Organic producers tend to be new to USDA and NRCS procedures and it is a learning process on both sides. Getting in early allows for a quality conservation planning experience,” he says.
Organic producers can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years through this initiative, which targets core conservation practices such as conservation crop rotation, cover crop, nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, and forage harvest management.
“In addition to the six core practices, in California there are more than a dozen additional practices that can qualify for funding through this initiative,” Forkey says.
To be eligible to receive funding, growers must either have an organic system plan or certify that they are working toward one. Organic producers may also apply for assistance under general EQIP.
For more information, go to www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.