Heather Lifsey, a marketing specialist working with organic producers, wanted to let growers who are transitioning to organic production or who are already certified as organic producers know that they may be eligible for a conservation payment through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The deadline to sign up for the EQIP Organic Initiative has been extended to May 20. Farmers are encouraged not to wait until the last minute to apply as a site visit by a local NRCS conservationist is required as part of the application.
The EQIP-OI program shares with farmers the cost of incorporating practices that are designed to address nine major conservation resource concerns: soil erosion, soil quality degradation, excessive/insufficient water use, water quality degradation, degraded plant condition, inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife, livestock production limitations, inefficient energy use and air quality impacts.
Farmers/producers incorporating practices that are linked to one of these resource concerns may be eligible for a conservation payment of up to $20,000 a year or up to $80,000 over a six-year period.
Interested farmers should contact their local NRCS office at www.nc.nrcs.usda.gov. In addition, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association has resources available to help farmers and NRCS staff take advantage of this program. Farmers with questions can contact Karen McSwain at (828) 423-2463 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lifsey can be reached at (919) 707-3127 or email@example.com.