Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NRCS Financial Assistance Supports Organic Growers

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has $1.5 million to help Missouri farmers produce organic products. State Conservationist Roger Hansen says landowners may apply until May 29 for the funds available through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

The $1.5 million available in Missouri is part of a $50 million nationwide initiative to provide financial assistance to National Organic Program (NOP) certified organic producers as well as producers in the process of transitioning to organic production. Organic producers also may apply for assistance under general EQIP.

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.

EQIP may pay for up to 75 percent of the costs associated with installing eligible practices. For those qualifying as beginning farmers, limited resource farmers, or socially disadvantaged farmers, EQIP funds are available for up to 90 percent of installation costs. Payments for organic operations may not exceed $20,000 per year, or $80,000 during any six-year period.
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.

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