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Organic 'Seed Money' Dries Up Soon

January 31, 2011

SANTA FE, N.M. - Organic "seed money" of up to $20,000 is available for New Mexico organic producers and farmers who are making the switch. Applications for the funds are due March 4.

Tracey Bruckner with the Center for Rural Affairs says the Organic Initiative in the 2008 farm bill makes all the difference to farmers making the changeover.

"Moving away from traditional methods, farmers need assistance in designing a conservation-based system that works for an organic operation. They have to make that work financially, as well as find the technical assistance they need to help them put into place things that are needed. This help is definitely an important part of the puzzle."

She says applicants must submit a self-certification form to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) acknowledging they agree to develop and implement conservation practices.

"You have to fill out the basic application form by March 4. You also need to be in contact with an organic transition specialist."

In fiscal year 2010, the NRCS obligated nearly $24 million through the Organic Initiative to help producers implement conservation practices like planting cover crops, establishing pest management plans or implementing nutrient management systems.

Assistance in making an application is available from the Center for Rural Affairs, www.cfra.org.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM