Federal Funding Available to Assist Nebraska’s Agricultural Producers Transitioning to Organic
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Nebraska has funding available to assist Nebraska’s agricultural producers with transitioning to organic production.
Through the Organic Transition Initiative, NRCS Nebraska is accepting applications until June 15, 2023, from interested landowners for eligible conservation practices.
“Producers transitioning to organic can look to NRCS for assistance,” said NRCS Nebraska State Conservationist Rob Lawson. “This funding will help support producers through the transition to organic and address their conservation needs.”
Eligible practices for this initiative include organic management (required), conservation cover, conservation crop rotation, cover crops, nutrient management, and field borders. Interested landowners should speak to their local NRCS Service Center before June 15.
NRCS staff will create a conservation plan with the landowner to assess what conservation practices are best applied for organic transition. Applications for funding assistance will be ranked after June 15 to determine which projects have the highest conservation benefits. Those approved will be provided financial assistance.
The Organic Transition Initiative was authorized in the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to help build new and better markets and income streams, strengthen local and regional food systems, and increase an affordable food supply for more Americans, while promoting climate-smart agriculture and ensuring equity for all producers.
Nationally, NRCS is dedicating $70 million to assist producers with a new organic management standard under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
NRCS will help producers adopt the new organic management standard, which allows flexibility for producers to get the assistance and education they need such as attending workshops or requesting help from experts or mentors. It supports conservation practices required for organic certification and may provide foregone income reimbursement for dips in production during the transition period.
How to Apply
Eligible producers include farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and other producers beginning or in the process of transitioning to organic certification.
Higher payment rates and other options are available for underserved producers including historically underserved customers, Tribes, beginning farmers and ranchers, veterans, and limited resource farmers and ranchers.
Since its inception in 1935, NRCS has worked in partnership with private landowners and a variety of local, state, and federal conservation partners to deliver conservation based on specific, local needs. Please visit www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov for more information about NRCS.
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