2011 Montana Organic Production EQIP Special Initiative
Organic food sales remain the fastest growing sector in the food industry, swelling by 18 percent in 2007. Organic food sales more than tripled, to $1.7 billion in 2007 from $393 million in 2002, according to USDA’s Agriculture Census.
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) provided funding specifically to help organic farmers and those agricultural producers transitioning to organic farming. In Montana, more than $1.5 million is available through a special allotment for organic farmers through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Successful applicants will develop contracts with the NRCS to cost share the installation of conservation practices. These practices are to assist organic producers or transitioning producers to meet the objectives of their Organic System Plan (OSP). The OSP is administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
Payments are not authorized for activities or practice components which are solely production related and are not linked to an identified resource concern. Payments may not be used for any costs related to organic certification.
Farmers or ranchers who want to apply for financial assistance may receive up to $20,000 per year and are limited to $80,000 over a six-year period under the Organic Initiative.
Conservation Planning Assistance
For more than 70 years, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has placed a high priority on helping agricultural producers with conservation plans to meet their environmental and economic goals, while at the same time planning for the protection of the soil, water, air and wildlife resources.
Conservation goals are highly individual and may include transitioning to organic agriculture (or boosting pollinator populations, increasing biodiversity including soil-borne organisms, enhancing water quality, controlling invasive species or dozens of other resource-enhancing possibilities).
NRCS conservationists will come to your farm and work with you to develop a conservation plan based on your farm goals. The plan will specify a timeline to implement the conservation practices. Conservation planning assistance is free and does not require participation in financial programs. Producers may be eligible for other conservation programs.
New in 2011, applicants have the opportunity to sign-up for financial assistance to develop a conservation activity plan to develop a Conservation Plan Supporting Organic transition. The conservation activity plan must be written by a Technical Service Provider.
All information provided to NRCS for conservation planning purposes is strictly confidential.
How Do I Get Started?
The first step is to visit your local USDA Service Center and speak with the NRCS District Conservationist and complete an application.
Your application may be submitted at your local NRCS field office. You can use the USDA Service Center Locator to find your local NRCS field office or look in your local phone book under federal government.
Note that applications are accepted at any time. An application cut-off is announced annually. Any applications received after the deadline will be deferred to the following funding cycle.
What Do I Bring with Me?
If you are already certified:
If you are transitioning:
You will be asked to complete the following documentation:
For More Information
On other Web sites:
Ron Nadwornick, State Resource Conservationist and Organic
Kris Berg, Program Specialist
Tim Ouellette, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
Last Modified: 12/09/2011