Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Location: Missoula, MT
A press release forwarded by Tilth Producers of Washington, which promotes ecologically sound, economically viable and socially equitable farming practices that improve the health of our communities and natural environment.
CONTACT: Dave Brown, Assistant State Conservationist, 509/323-2971
NRCS Announces Opportunity for Organic Producers to Implement Conservation Practices
SPOKANE, Wash (April 11, 2011) - Another funding opportunity for certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic production to implement resource conservation practices on their agricultural operations was announced today by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
While applications are accepted on a continuous basis, the cutoff date for this application period is May 20, 2011.
"There has been a strong interest in the program in Washington State," Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, Dave Brown, said. "This new opportunity will allow more producers to receive technical and financial assistance for the Organic Initiative, addressing a wide-range of resource concerns," said Brown.
Fiscal year 2011 marks the third year of USDA's Organic Initiative. Up to $50 million is available nationwide this year to help producers plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns in ways that are consistent with organic production. For example, conservation practices include planting cover crops, establishing integrated pest management plans, constructing seasonal high tunnels, or implementing nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification standards.
Eligible producers include those certified through USDA's National Organic Program, those transitioning to certified organic production, and those who meet organic standards but are exempt from certification because their gross annual organic sales are less than $5,000.
Organic Initiative funding is provided through NRCS' Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a voluntary conservation program that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. The 2008 Farm Bill provided assistance specifically for organic farm operations and those converting to organic production.
Under EQIP Organic Initiative contracts, NRCS provides financial payments and technical assistance to help producers implement conservation measures in keeping with organic production. Beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged producers may obtain additional assistance. The 2008 Farm Bill limits EQIP payments for organic operations to $20,000 per year per person or legal entity, with a maximum total of $80,000 over six years.