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Taking Initiative with Organic Farming

USDA News Release

There’s a new reason to be an organic farmer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced a national funding opportunity for certified organic producers, or those transitioning to organic production.

Locally, the USDA-NRCS office is hosting a sustainability workshop, focusing on conservation easements to achieve sustainability goals. Conservation funding will be discussed, as well as an introduction to conservation easements and benefits to landowners.

Wallace Jennings, district conservationist, will help host the conservation workshop on April 29 in the OHA/DHHL conference room at Kulana `Oiwi, from 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon. RSVP by April 25 by calling (808) 483-8600 x123 or email jean.brokish@oahurcd.org

This year is the third year of the USDA’s Organic Initiative, where up to $50 million is available to help producers plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns.

Conservation practices might include planting cover crops, establishing pest management plans, constructing seasonal high tunnels, or implementing nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification standards.

Eligible producers include those certified through USDA’s National Organic Program, those transitioning to certified organic production, and those who meet organic standards but are exempt from certification because their gross annual organic sales are less than $5,000.

Organic Initiative funding is provided through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a voluntary conservation program that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. The 2008 Farm Bill provided assistance specifically for organic farm operations and those converting to organic production.

Producers interested in applying for EQIP Organic Initiative funding must submit applications through their local NRCS Service Center, which can be located through the Web site at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs.

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