$50 Million Organic Initiative (EQIP) Sign-Up Extended

Deadline to Apply is May 20, 2011Organic Garden Picture OFRF EQIP Funding Updated Program Information Available on OFRF Website Now is the time to apply for the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative, which has been re-opened for a second round this year. The program provides financial and technical assistance to growers to implement conservation practices like cover cropping, pest management, crop rotation, stream buffers, hedgerow planting, and various other practices. See eligibility criteria below. To sign up, visit your USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) local service center. Eligible Applicants The EQIP Organic Initiative is available to agricultural producers who are:

  • In the process of or interested in transitioning to organic.
  • Already certified organic (or exempt*) and interested in transitioning more acreage to organic.
  • Already certified organic (or exempt) and interested in adopting conservation measures on their farm.
  • Already certified organic (or exempt) and interested in transitioning more acreage to organic AND adopting conservation measures on their farm.
*Also included are “exempt producers,” whose gross agricultural income from organic sales totals $5,000 or less annually but who still comply with the applicable organic production, handling, and labeling requirements mandated for certified organic producers. Additional information on eligibility is listed on our EQIP Organic Initiative Resource Page, as well as on the NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative page.


Producers who receive EQIP Organic Initiative contracts with NRCS are paid 75 percent of the cost for the organic conservation measures they implement. Beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged producers (those considered “historically underserved” by the USDA) are paid up to 90 percent. The program provides up to $20,000 per year with a maximum total of $80,000 over six years.

May 20th, 2011, is the last day to submit your application for this year’s funding. The process can be complicated, so we urge you to start now.

More Information

OFRF has updated information about the 2011 EQIP Organic Initiative, including application instructions, criteria for applying, information about the practices and payment schedules, and a list of organizations that assist growers in their state, on our EQIP Organic Initiative Resource Page. This page will be updated as needed, so check back frequently.

Please see the NRCS 2011 Guidance Document, which is the USDA’s directive to each state’s NRCS office to implement the EQIP Organic Initiative in 2011.

For an overview of USDA Conservation Programs that apply to organic producers, including EQIP as well as the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), please see our page: USDA Conservation Programs for Organic Producers.

If you have any questions, please contact Udi Lazimy, OFRF Policy Organizer, at udi@ofrf.org or 831-426-6606 x 109.

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