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COLUMBIA, MO – Missouri’s organic farmers and those transitioning to organic production have until May 20 to apply for the next round of financial assistance available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, State Conservationist J.R. Flores said.
Flores said about $1.3 million is available through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). That is Missouri’s share of a $50 million nationwide initiative. Eligible producers include those certified through USDA’s National Organic Program, those transitioning to certified organic production, and those who meet organic standards but are exempt from certification because their gross annual organic sales are less than $5,000.
EQIP promotes agricultural production and environmental quality. Through EQIP, farmers and ranchers receive financial and technical assistance to help install structural conservation practices and to implement management systems that promote conservation.
Flores said conservation practices could include planting cover crops, establishing integrated pest management plans, constructing seasonal high tunnels, or implementing nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification standards.
Under EQIP Organic Initiative contracts, NRCS provides financial payments and technical assistance to help producers implement conservation measures in keeping with organic production. Beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged producers may obtain additional assistance. The 2008 Farm Bill limits EQIP payments for organic operations to $20,000 per year per person or legal entity, with a maximum total of $80,000 over six years.
To apply for EQIP or to get more information about EQIP and other NRCS programs, contact the NRCS office serving your county. Look in the phone book under “U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture,” or access this website: http://offices.usda.gov.
You can also get information about NRCS programs online at http://www.mo.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.