USDA EXTENDS SIGNUP PERIOD FOR ORGANIC FARMING INITIATIVE
Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2009 8:01 pm
(NASHVILLE)—Organic producers and those wanting to transition to organic crops have more time to apply for $970,000 provided to Tennessee by the USDA as part of the National Organic Initiative. The deadline has been extended to June 15, 2009. The initiative is part of the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
State Conservationist Kevin Brown says there is increasing demand for organic products in Tennessee. “We are seeing tremendous interest from farmers who want to transition to organic, and this program can help them do that. More consumers are demanding organic options, so for producers who have been thinking about making the switch, this is the perfect opportunity.”
Under the National Organic Initiative, required minimum core conservation practices will be determined by specific resource concerns. The practices are: Conservation Crop Rotation; Cover Crop; Nutrient Management; Pest Management; Prescribed Grazing; and Forage Harvest Management. Tennessee will add other applicable practices that meet the state’s organic producer resource needs.
Applications received from organic producers or producers in transition to organic farming will be accepted between now and June 15th when applications will be ranked. Nationally, $50 million has been set aside for organic producers and those transitioning to organic production. Organic producers may also apply for assistance under general EQIP.
Applications from producers who are transitioning to organic and producers who are already certified will be screened and ranked separately. To assist with eligibility questions there are two separate National Screening Tools for applicants (one for producers transitioning to organic production and one for certified organic producers). Ranking criteria has been established based on resource concerns that link to the National Organic Program (NOP) objectives and the core conservation practices. NOP is administered by the USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service.
The 2009 National Organic Initiative is being administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. Additional information on the 2009 EQIP Organic Initiative is available at: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/. NRCS is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program