The last chance to apply for assistance through the EQIP Organic Initiative for 2012 is June 1, so if you’re interested read on and apply!
EQIP, a voluntary soil, air, and water conservation program of the USDA, provides technical and financial assistance for farmers looking to implement conservation programs on their farms. The program, administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (an agency within the USDA), includes an Organic Initiative program – a sub-set of the overall program that is specifically targeted to supporting organic farms and farms transitioning to organic. In 2012, the USDA allocated $50 million for EQIP OI funding, with three separate application periods – the third and final one being Friday, June 1.
Through EQIP, NRCS works with agricultural producers to implement conservation practices that address environmental problems. Payments – up to $20,000 per year – are made to producers once conservation practices are completed according to NRCS requirements. Beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as historically under-served farmers and ranchers, may be eligible for increased cost reimbursements. More on the EQIP program can be found here.
Some of the possible areas of funding through the EQIP Organic Initiative include:
- Developing a conservation plan
- Developing a transition to organic production plan
- Establishing boundaries and buffer zones
- Improving soil quality and organic matter while minimizing erosion
- Improving pest management
- Developing a grazing plan and improving grazing resources
- Improving waste utilization and composting
- Improving irrigation efficiency
- Enhancing cropping systems and nutrient management