State-wide Organic Incentive Program Announced
The Nebraska Natural Resources & Conservation Service (NRCS) is launching an Organic Incentives Program option for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) which will provide financial incentives, statewide, for farmers and ranchers to convert conventional cropland and grassland to certified “organic” status.
The program authorizes:
• An annual payment of $50 per acre for 3 years, for up to 120 acres of cropland.
• Compliance to USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) is required annually.
• Acres in any phase of the conversion process are eligible for the incentive payment however; farmers and acreages already certified organic are not eligible.
• Applications can be submitted any time at county NRCS offices.
• The first ranking/review deadline is November 30, 2005.
Organic prices are often 100-200% of conventional grains. To sell products in the “organic” market, farmers and ranchers must comply with the National Organic Rule. The biggest obstacle for many farmers and ranchers is the 36-month transition period prior to certification.
This EQIP program will provide incentives to offset financial risks, due to possible yield reductions or other costs. Incentives can help offset expenses for additional machinery and facilities not now a part of many conventional farms. These needs may include additional tillage or weed control equipment, storage facilities, and equipment needed to manage a more diverse crop mixture.
NRCS is providing the financial incentive to make the transition easier. Meanwhile, the Center for Rural Affairs will be mirroring this program with a 3-year training program for organic farmers and ranchers. Designed to provide the skill training and information sharing to make the transition a success, the program will deal with fertility, weed and pest control, access to premium markets, and the essentials needed to qualify for organic certification.
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Center for Rural Affairs
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