December 29, 2010—State Conservationist Eric B. Banks for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the cutoff date of March 4, 2011, for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative.
Kansas farmers who are transitioning to organic agriculture or who are currently certified organic may apply for financial assistance through the EQIP to meet their conservation goals. They can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) NRCS in Kansas, which administers EQIP, is setting aside a separate pool of $1.4 million EQIP money to help Kansas organic farmers and those that 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 allows for dedicated funds to be set aside to assist organic producers. Hopefully, with the specific EQIP funding for the Organic Initiative, Kansas will have more organic crop acres enrolled across the state.”
Applications for the EQIP Organic Initiative are taken continuously throughout the year, but to be considered for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 funding with the Initiative, producers need to have an application signed and returned to their local NRCS office by March 4, 2011.
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, pest management, and field borders. A conservation practice added in FY 2010 was for the establishment of a high tunnel. Producers who qualify could receive financial assistance for one high tunnel.
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 2011 EQIP information.