Application Deadlines Coming Up Fast

This is a quick reminder that the deadline for the EQIP Organic Initiative, a program under the umbrella of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the USDA, is coming up very quick. November 16, to be exact, as Illinois has one of the earliest deadlines in the country.

EQIP, which stands for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, is a voluntary program catering to both existing organic farmers and growers transitioning to organic production systems who want assistance in developing a conservation plan, a transition to a organic production plan or many of the other similar requirements in the USDA’s Organic System Plan. What’s been described is in no way the extent of a typical OSP, which can be found here (some of the jargon can get a little complicated, but the point to take away is that you can get funding for a lot of different uses).

The Organic Initiative grant has a total fund of $50 million, and has a smaller pool of applicants and lower payments than the more general EQIP grant, which will have both higher payments and competition. However, organic farmers are still eligible and encourage to apply for both the EQIP and the EQIP Organic Initiative.

A full list of those that qualify for an EQIP Organic Initiative grant;

  • In the process of transitioning to organic
  • Already certified organic (or exempt) and interested in transitioning more acreage to organic.
  • Already certified organic (or exempt) and interested in adopting conservation measures on their farm.
  • Already certified organic (or exempt) and interested in transitioning more acreage to organic AND adopting conservation measures on their farm.

For full elgibility requirement information, and for more information in general on the EQIP Organic Inititative fund, please visit this page, which explains everything very nicely. Remember again, the Illinois dealing for the EQIP Organic Initiative is November 16. Write it down and get it done.