The Organic Report: Cash For Organic Crops

Agricultural producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic production may qualify for technical and financial assistance through a National Organic Initiative administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

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More than $2.4 million in special organic funding will be available to eligible producers as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Producers must submit applications by March 4 for funding consideration during fiscal year 2011.

“Increasing consumer demand for organically grown foods is providing new opportunities for small and mid-size farmers to prosper and stay competitive in today’s economy,” USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said. “The 2008 Farm Bill calls for this assistance, and we want to help these farmers protect the natural resources on their land and create conditions that help foster organic production.”

Organic producers can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years through the special organic EQIP funding. The assistance targets more than two dozen core conservation practices, including conservation crop rotation, cover crop, nutrient management, pest management, and prescribed grazing.

This is a nationwide initiative to provide assistance to certified organic producers as well as producers transitioning to organic production. Applicants must either have an organic system plan or certify they are working toward one. Organic producers also may apply for assistance under general EQIP. Additional program information is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/organic/index.html. Interested producers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Contact information is available by clicking here.