Last spring, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an historic and exciting new funding program as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The program made financial and technical assistance available to certified organic growers and those transitioning to organic farming systems so that they could implement conservation practices on their farm.
Well, USDA's up to good things again—offering another $50 million in EQIP Organic Initiative funds in 2010. Producers who receive these funds are paid 75% of the cost of implementing organic conservation measures. This can add up to $20,000 a year, with a maximum grant of $80,000 in a six-year period.
If your interest is even the slightest bit piqued, it's time to get moving because the deadline is March 12th—just a few shorts weeks away. The process can be a bit hairy, so we recommend any interested farmers get started on their application now. Farm Aid funded-group and partner organization, the Organic Farming Research Foundation, is available to provide detailed information about the initiative, including application instructions, criteria for applying, information about the approved practices and payment schedule, and a list of organizations that can assist growers in their state.
And please make sure to get the word out to farmer friends and family about this extraordinary funding opportunity!