Initiative sign-up period extended


Natural Resources Conservation Service officials in Montana announce the special sign-up period for an Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), special initiative providing financial and technical assistance to help with conservation practices for organic producers or those transitioning to organic production has been extended until June 12, 2009.
“Interest in this special initiative is high” says Montana State Conservationist Joyce Swartzendruber. “We are extending the application deadline to assure all qualified and interested producers have an opportunity to apply.”
Producers wanting to participate may now file applications no later June 12 to be considered for participation.  A new organic provision in the 2008 Farm Bill sets aside funding to help organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production:
· Obtain assistance for conservation practices related to organic production.
· Limits assistance to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six year period.
·Requires producers to develop and carry out an organic system plan or carry out practices consistent with an organic system plan.
·Producers transitioning must be working with an organic certifying agency.
Producers must be pursuing an organic certification or be in compliance with organic certification.
The following examples of EQIP assistance that may help those engaged in organic farming:
· Assistance in implementing an Integrated Pest Management Plan.
· Assistance installing interior fencing and water for rotational grazing systems.
· Assistance implementing conservation practices tailored to the producer’s operation.

Published May 27, 2009

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