Organic farmers and farmers who are transitioning to an organic operation have until June 1 to apply for a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) program that can help them pay for conservation measures. The National Center for Appropriate Technology's ATTRA program staff can help them meet the deadline. NRCS has up to $50 million dollars to award in the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). The program is a significant opportunity for organic and transitioning organic farmers to get financial assistance to implement conservation practices that are consistent with organic production practices.
Some of the practices that NRCS has identified as being beneficial to organic producers include the following:
- Irrigation and water management, including such items as efficient irrigation upgrades, irrigation scheduling, and tailwater recovery systems
- Grazing management, such as fencing, stockwater systems, and range and pasture planting
- Nutrient management, including manure-storage structures, planned nutrient applications, and soil testing
- Pest management, including crop- and pest-monitoring activities and planned pesticide applications
- Erosion control, such as grade-control structures, diversions, and water- and sediment-control basins
- Wildlife-habitat enhancement, such as stream buffers, fish screens, fish passage, and upland wildlife-habitat establishment
EQIP funding is competitive; however, there is a significant amount of funds still available just weeks before the deadline.
If you need more information on applying for EQIP funds, check the ATTRA progrm website at https://attra.ncat.org/eqip/ for details or call our the English-language ATTRA toll-free hotline at 800-346-9140 or the Spanish-language ATTRA hotline at 800-411-3222.
The following online links feature stories showcasing what producers have accomplished with help from EQIP.
Before We Valued Organic Food | Arizona NRCS www.az.nrcs.usda.gov/news/releases/Organic-Vineyard.html
Organic Farming is in the Family| Illinois NRCS www.il.nrcs.usda.gov/features/success/Duane_Baker.html
We Went Organic Before It Was Hot| Illinois NRCS www.il.nrcs.usda.gov/features/success/Dave_Campbell.html Opting for Organics | Missouri NRCS www.mo.nrcs.usda.gov/news/Showcase/showcase_JohnRice.html New Wetland to Improve Water Quality in West Lake | Iowa NRCS www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/news/successstories/showcase.html Getting Help With Everyday Farm Challenges | Massachusetts NRCS www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov/news/showcase/Allen.html Eugene Forest Benefits from Conservation Practices | Oregon NRCS www.or.nrcs.usda.gov/news/showcase/index.html Restored Ranch Gives Hope to Disabled Vets | Washington NRCS www.wa.nrcs.usda.gov/news/conservationshowcase.html
Tenth-Generation South Carolina Farm Family Raise Organic Livestock http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/05/18/tenth-generation-south-carolina-farm-family-raise-organic- livestock/