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USDA Extends EQIP Organic Initiative Sign-up for FY 2011

Posted: April 29, 2011

NRCS announced an extension of the fiscal year (FY) 2011 sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program's (EQIP) Organic Initiative. Certified Organic and Transitioning-to-Organic producers will now be able to sign up for the Organic Initiative until May 20, 2011.

While applications for the program are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year, producers who wish to enroll for this sign-up period must apply by the cut-off date. Applications submitted after May 20 will be considered for the next sign-up period.

In a recent press release, NRCS Chief Dave White explained, “Organic growers continue to express interest in program support to implement conservation practices. This additional opportunity will allow more producers to get assistance in protecting the natural resources on their land and creating conditions that help foster organic production.”

Now in its third year, the initiative has supported the implementation of conservation practices on thousands of certified organic and transitioning farms and ranches across the country.

Both existing certified organic farmers and farmers transitioning to organic production are eligible for the Organic Initiative. The program is administered by NRCS and is available in all states and all counties through local field offices. To find your local office, click here. Click on your state and then on your county to find the contact information. Producers will have to fill out an NRCS-CPA-1200 application to sign up officially; whatever information farmers cannot fill out on their own, they should fill out with the help of NRCS staff.

NRCS has provided a list of points of contact for organics in each state. To view the list updated by the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), click here.

Prior to the announcement by NRCS that it would extend the current sign-up, OFRF conducted an analysis of the information available through NRCS state websites on the Organic Initiative, payment schedules, and practices offered. According to the analysis, many of the states do not have payment schedules for FY 11 up or practices offered through the initiative. It is critical that this information be posted and available on state NRCS websites during the sign up period so that farmers are aware of important program components.

Click here to learn more about the Initiative.