MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

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May 13, 2011

Funding deadline for organic farming is May 20

The deadline is nearing for a funding opportunity for certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic production.

The cutoff date for this application period is May 20, said Dave White, chief of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, in a media release.

Up to $50 million is available this year to help producers plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns in ways that are consistent with organic production. For example, conservation practices include planting cover crops, establishing integrated pest management plans, constructing seasonal high tunnels, or implementing nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification standards.

According to the release, 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. NRCS provides financial payments and technical assistance to help producers implement conservation measures in keeping with organic production. Beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged producers may obtain additional assistance. The 2008 Farm Bill limits Environmental Quality Incentives Program payments for organic operations to $20,000 per year per person or legal entity, with a maximum total of $80,000 over six years.

Producers interested in applying must submit applications through their local NRCS Service Center. Information: Rishell Bowler, (918) 682-8831. 

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