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“ Know Your Farmer; Know Your Food” USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. “Organic EQIP” September 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "“ Know Your Farmer; Know Your Food” USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. “Organic EQIP” September 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 “ Know Your Farmer; Know Your Food” USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. “Organic EQIP” September 2010

2 NRCS Assistance In general, the EQIP program is intended to assist producers with financial assistance to help implement conservation practices that address identified resource concerns on the farm.

3 EQIP--Even Greener!  The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program administered and carried out through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.  EQIP was originally established under the 1996 Farm Bill and continues to be reauthorized with the 2008 Farm Bill.  It supports ag production and environmental quality as compatible goals.

4 Today’s Talk The NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative helps level the playing field; it targets organic growers who wish to improve the conservation practices and expand the environmental protection of their organic system.

5 GOAL: Enhance environmental protection. So…What’s EQIP?

6 EQIP Offers…  Financial & technical help  A way to voluntarily address soil, water & related natural resource concerns on private lands  Structural solutions, management techniques & conservation practices

7 How Does EQIP Work? EQIP is a “fix it” program; EQIP helps landowners to solve existing resource problems.

8 Organic EQIP Defined EQIP payments help cover implementation costs of newly applied conservation practices--practices that have not been previously established. Something NEEEWW!

9 What Practices Apply? Conservation practices eligible to receive financial assistance are listed in the EQIP payment schedule and contained in the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide.

10 What is EQIP ???? Reminders:  It’s not a grant or reward program.  It doesn’t offer financial incentives for conservation practices already established & properly maintained.

11 Rules & Regs  EQIP’s Organic Initiative focuses on currently certified organic producers & those transitioning to organic production.  Applications are ranked & funded from a special funding pool for organic producers.  Applications compete only against others in this special fund pool.

12 Rules & Regs Organic EQIP does NOT offer financial incentives for producing organic products or for the transition from traditional ag production to organic. NRCS CAN pay funds to hire Technical Service Providers (TSPs) who help you create a Conservation ActivityPlan (CAP) which serves as a guide for producers as they make the transition.

13 Rules & Regs  Producers could receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years.  EQIP payments are set up by a contract that can last over several years.  You can still apply for regular EQIP if more $ is required.

14 Rules & Regs  To be eligible, applicants must be an individual, entity or joint operation who meets the definition of an agricultural producer engaged in livestock or agricultural production.  There must be an annual minimum of $1,000 of agricultural products produced/sold from the operation two out of the last five years.

15 Rules & Regs  Producers are also required to develop & carry out an Organic System Plan (OSP).  They must be pursuing organic certification or be in compliance with their current organic certification through the National Organic Program (NOP).

16 “Certified”  Applicants with certified organic operations and those who are not required to be certified (less than $5,000 of annual sales) must submit a copy of current OSP before funding is considered.  Producers in the process of transitioning to organic production are required to submit a self certification letter to NRCS stating they will implement conservation practices consistent with an organic system plan.

17 Eligible Practices  Six core conservation practices will be offered with a higher payment rate to address specific resource concerns.  Farmers can choose to implement any number of the following practices--the more practices a farmer plans to implement, the higher priority the application will be.

18 “Core 6” The “Core 6” practices are: 1.Conservation Crop Rotation 2.Cover Crop 3.Nutrient Management 4.Pest Management 5.Prescribed Grazing 6.Forage Harvest management

19 “Core 6” Conservation Crop Rotation: Eligible acres are those where the current rotation is annual crops and is significantly changed to include at least two years or more of rotation legumes, grass and legume mixtures and other approved green manure and cover crops.

20 “Core 6” Cover Crop: This practice includes the seeding of legumes, small grains, cocktail mixes and other cover crops per the cover crop standard. Cover crops cannot be mechanically harvested for grain or forage. They can be grazed if it is detailed in the plan.

21 “Core 6” Nutrient Management: This includes managing the amount, source, placement, form and timing of application of manure and/or soil amendments that meet organic requirements. Soil sampling is required and records must be maintained.

22 “Core 6” Pest Management: Utilizing environmentally sensitive prevention, avoidance, monitoring and suppression strategies (including crop scouting) that meet organic cropping requirements. Records must be maintained.

23 “Core 6” Prescribed Grazing: The controlled harvest of vegetation with grazing or browsing animals. This practice is only eligible for permanent pasture / grassland (not for hayland or cropland that is intermittently grazed). A detailed prescribed grazing plan is required.

24 “Core 6” Forage Harvest Management: This practice involves the timely cutting and removal of forages from the field as hay, greenchop or ensilage.

25 Eligible Options  Producers are also eligible to apply for any of the other practices in the practice payment schedule that are needed on their operation.  You are eligible to apply for any of these practices as long as you make a change to your current operation: change your crop rotation, add a cover crop, make a change in your nutrient or pest management practices, etc.

26 “Batching Periods”  NRCS accepts regular EQIP applications continuously. Every few months, all current applications on file are gathered together and ranked out in order to select the best/most beneficial projects.  NRCS will accept Organic EQIP applications only once during planting season. All organic applications on file are gathered together and ranked out within the organic applications & funding pool.

27 Timing & Deadlines  Dates are established each year for sign-up in Organic EQIP at local NRCS offices.  To learn more, contact your County USDA Service Center.

28 Rookies… When applying for the first time, producers will need to fill out forms providing USDA with information that confirms eligibility to participate in public-funded programs. NRCS staff will be available in the USDA Service Center to help!

29 NRCS is Here To Help! With EQIP, NRCS can help you help the land as you grow organically.

30 NRCS ~ Helping People Help the Land To learn more, visit or visit your County NRCS Thank you for your time & attention!

31 Equal Opportunity The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Ave. Avenue SW, Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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