April 11, 2011
On Monday, April 11, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced an additional sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program’s (EQIP) Organic Initiative for 2011. Certified Organic and Transitioning-to-Organic producers will now have until May 20, 2011 to sign up for the Organic Initiative for this ranking period.
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 today’s 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. Find your local office. 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.
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.