NRCS Organic Initiative Applications Deadline ApproachesTue, 01 May 2012 14:42:07 CDT
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Ronald L. Hilliard reminds potential applicants to contact their local NRCS office soon to find out if they are eligible for the agency’s Organic Initiative. Applications for the final ranking period of 2012 are due at NRCS offices by the close of business on June 1, 2012. The NRCS office locator is available by clicking here.
Hilliard said that “there is increasing interest on the part of consumers to purchase organically grown foods, leading to increased demand for organic products.” As State Conservationist for Oklahoma, “we are pleased to be able to offer these programs to Oklahoma producers and we encourage producers to take advantage of them.”
Nationwide, NRCS has nearly $50 million in financial and technical assistance available to certified organic producers, those who want to make the transition to organic production, and producers who sell less than $5,000 in organic products annually.
Part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Organic Initiative offers a wide array of conservation practices specifically designed for organic production. “Practices will help the selected applicants meet many requirements of their USDA Organic System Plans and stay in compliance with USDA’s National Organic Program, “Hilliard said.
The top five Organic Initiative conservation practices are cover crops, nutrient and pest management, seasonal high tunnels, crop rotation, and fencing.
Changes for the 2012 signups include three ranking periods for current and transitioning producers; a threshold ranking score that can speed up approval for qualified applicants; required conservation practices that promote the consistent use of those practices; and an expanded list of conservation activity plans. More can be learned about the Organic Initiative online by clicking here.
Information about other NRCS Initiatives and programs can be obtained from a local NRCS office or online by clicking here.
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