NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative Sign-up Deadline = Friday, March 15th.

EQIP Organic Initiative
Sign up by March 15 for 2013
There is lots of money left in the EQIP Organic Initiative for the 2013 season.

If you are certified organic, or are transitioning to organic and plan to seek USDA certification within the next three years, this program can offer financial and technical support in adopting conservation practices, including those that will help you achieve or maintain compliance with the NOP standards.  The EQIP Organic Initiative can be especially valuable to farmers who have purchased new land that has undergone some soil or other resource degradation that needs to be addressed before organic farming will be successful, or that has ecologically sensitive features such as wetlands or highly erodible land.  It is also valuable to new and beginning organic producers.

Even if you are not USDA certified organic, most of these practices and payments are available through the regular EQIP program, at somewhat lower but still substantial payment rates.

For more information and to initiate the application process, visit your local NRCS office ASAP – and if your local NRCS staff are not able to answer all your questions or give you the help you are needing, contact our VA state coordinator for organic producers using NRCS programs,:
Ron Wood
ProTracts, PRS, Toolkit, eAUTH –  Coordinator
Organic Initiative/WHIP Manager, Virginia NRCS
804 287-1660; e-mail, FAX 804 287-1736

To find your local office, and for more info on Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Virginia, visit:

Please share the above information with anyone in your networks or e-mail lists whom you think might be interested.  Deadline for initial application at a local NRCS office is March 15 – applicants do not need to have all the details of their contracts worked out by then.


CPS 595 Integrated Pest Management – a small diversified organic or specialty crop farm can receive up to $655 for implementing a comprehensive Integrated Pest Mamagement program that addresses multiple resource concerns (water quality, wildlife, soil).  Larger specialty crop farms can receive payments up to $110 per acre, and orchards $170 per acre.  This is the first time that EQIP has offered payments for Integrated Pest Management in Virginia, and it can be a tremendous hand-up for both small and larger scale specialty crop farmers who want to adopt ecologically sound, Earth-friendly pest management strategies.

CPS 590 Nutrient Management – for organic systems $33/ac; small diversified specialty crop farms can receive $480 to develop and implement a Nutrient Management Plan for the whole operation, or $1,140 for an “adaptive nutrient management plan” (more precise and extensive management through the season).

CPS 328 Conservation Crop Rotation – if you add a perennial sod break to your specialty crop rotation to conserve soil and enhance soil quality, payments are $1,550/ac for certified and transitioning-organic systems.  If you adopt a continuous no fallow / continuous live cover rotation (a “tight” rotation of annual production and cover crops in wihch bare soil periods are kept to a minimum) for organic specialty crops, payment is $700/ac.


CPS 327 Conservation Cover – If you design the practice to provide pollinator habitat scenario, conservation cover plantings are paid at $320/ac.

CPS 340 – Cover Crop – $40 – 110/ac for organic producers, depending on the main objectives of cover cropping(erosion control, nitrogen fixation, weed suppression, etc).

CPS 484 Mulching – with natural materials for erosion control or weed control/moisture conservation ($260 – 325/ac).

CPS 332 – Contour Buffer Strips – these are strips of permanent vegetations on contour on a sloping field to prevent erosion losses during annual crop production. Paymnts tare $260 – 400 per acre of land converted to buffer.

CPS 528 Prescribed Grazing – $25/ac, $28/ac organic.

CPS 412 Grassed Waterway – these are swales in permanent grass to divert runoff away from tilled fields, high tunnels, etc, to prevent gully erosion.  $1500/ac for organic and high tunnel initiatives.

CPS 422 Hedgerow – $1.90 – 2.70 / linear foot.  Scenario with pollinator habitat under the hardwoods paid 30 cents/ft higher than others.

CPS 386 Field Border – these are permanent vegetation habitat plantings at edges of fields – again includes income foregone, and much higher for pollinator habitat and organic seed:  Mixed grasses and forbs $290/ac in the border planting; organic seed $480; pollinator habitat $600/ac, and organic seed for pollinator habitat $930.


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