Government News -
Friday, 12 February 2010 09:18
By The United States Department of Agriculture
Salina - State Conservationist Eric B. Banks for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a cutoff date of March 12, 2010, for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative.
Kansas producers who are transitioning to organic agriculture or who are currently certified organic may receive special assistance to meet their conservation goals with the provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill.
Producers may apply for financial assistance through the EQIP. If approved, they can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years to implement conservation practices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) NRCS in Kansas, which administers EQIP, has set aside $1.4 million in EQIP funds to help Kansas organic producers and those who are transitioning to organic production.
“EQIP has always been available for organic producers to treat resource concerns on their land,” said Banks, “but the 2008 Farm Bill encouraged dedicated funds to be set aside to assist organic producers.
Applications for the EQIP Organic Initiative are taken continuously throughout the year, but to be considered for Fiscal Year 2010 funding, producers need to have an application signed and returned to their local NRCS office by March 12, 2010.
Eric Banks, State Conservationist in Kansas, says EQIP applicants who are certified organic will need to bring a copy of their organic system plan (OSP) and name and address of their USDA accredited certifying agent when applying for financial assistance. Applicants who are transitioning to organic, will certify their intentions to transition to organic and must provide the name of the USDA accredited certifying agent they have contacted.
“Producers with an OSP have typically accomplished much or all of the work needed to develop an NRCS conservation plan,” says Banks.
A number of conservation practices may be funded through the EQIP organic ranking category, including cover crops, crop rotations, fencing and watering for rotational grazing, high tunnels for seasonal crops, and field borders.
A fact sheet on EQIP Organic is available at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.
Some participants are eligible to receive a higher payment rate; those are limited resource farmers, beginning farmers, and socially disadvantaged groups. For more information, go to http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/SLB_Farmer/.
Visit your local USDA Service Center and talk to the NRCS office staff about the details the EQIP Organic Initiative, conservation planning, and other programs to help you protect your farm. For more information about EQIP, go to http://www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/ and click on Kansas 2009 EQIP information.