$2 Million in Conservation Funds Available For Organic and Transitioning Growers
Application deadline set for January 29
DAVIS, Calif., December 11, 2009 – California agricultural producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic production, may qualify for technical and financial assistance through a special initiative administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Two million dollars in funding will be available to eligible producers in California as part of the agency’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Organic producers must submit applications by January 31 for funding consideration during fiscal year 2010.
Noting that the EQIP deadline for most applicants is Jan. 15, 2010, California Assistant State Conservationist Alan Forkey said the agency was allowing a bit more time for organic and transitioning producers to develop their conservation applications but stressed they should begin the process as soon as possible. “Organic producers tend to be new to USDA and NRCS procedures and it is a learning process on both sides. Getting in early allows for a quality conservation planning experience,” says Forkey.
Organic producers can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years through this initiative. The Organic Initiative targets core conservation practices such as Conservation Crop Rotation, Cover Crop, Nutrient Management, Pest Management, Prescribed Grazing, and Forage Harvest Management. “In addition to the six core practices, in California there are more than a dozen additional practices that can qualify for funding through this initiative,” Forkey said.
This is a nationwide special initiative to provide financial assistance to certified organic producers as well as producers transitioning to organic production. Applicants must either have an organic system plan or certify that they are working toward one. Organic producers may also apply for assistance under general EQIP.
Forkey encourages organic producers and those transitioning to organic production to contact their local USDA Service Center and learn more about this opportunity before the January 29 sign-up deadline. Driving directions and contact information to the Service Centers is available at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=CA.
$31.2 Million for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Available
Application deadline is set for January 15
Applications for EQIP are accepted year around. However, for initial funding consideration during fiscal year 2010, applications received by January 15 will be given first priority. To view EQIP information, visit to the California NRCS Web site: http://www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs or click here.
Financial Assistance Available for Wildlife Habitat Improvement
Application Deadline is January 15, 2010
NRCS has $534,500 of financial assistance available for WHIP, and can offer up to 75 percent cost share to implement wildlife conservation practices on private land. WHIP is a voluntary, incentive-based Farm Bill program. To sign-up, visit your local NRCS office or USDA Service Center. Driving directions and contact information for the Service Centers are available on the Web site: http://www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/
The WHIP program is a competitive conservation program reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. All program applicants must submit project proposals, which are ranked according to environmental benefits to wildlife. The ranking criteria as well as eligibility and application procedures are available at http://www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs or by clicking here