USDA announces funding for organic producers

USDA announced $3 million in conservation funding for organics producers.
USDA announced $3 million in conservation funding for organics producers.
California agricultural producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic production may qualify for technical and financial assistance through a new initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced.

Due to increased costs for some conservation practices related to organic operations, NRCS is increasing the standard payment rate up to 60 percent for some practices such as crop rotation, nutrient management and pest management.

Organic producers can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years through this initiative.

Administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the program provides $3 million in new funding for organic producers in California as part of the agency's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Producers must submit applications by May 29 to be included in the ranking for funding for fiscal year 2009. However, EQIP signup is continuous, so producers may submit an application to their local service center at any time, NRCS said.

The initiative is intended for National Organic Program (NOP) certified organic producers as well as producers in the process of transitioning to organic production. Applicants must either have an organic system plan that meets the NOP guidelines or certify that they are working toward one.