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Funding "Grows" for Farmers Transitioning to Organic

May 9, 2011

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota is already among the top states in the nation for acres farmed organically, and funding available now may help boost its standing.

Traci Bruckner, policy analyst with the Center for Rural Affairs, says $50 million is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative, which provides funding for farmers and ranchers in a variety of organic situations, such as those who are already certified and want to add conservation practices.

"Or it's for those people that want to add additional acres to their organic operation, or for those folks who have never been organic and want to transition for the first time."

In 2010, over $1.2 million went to North Dakota farmers and ranchers, and total funding available this year is even greater. As of 2008, the state had more than 216,000 acres in organic planting.

Bruckner says the funding will cover 75 percent of the costs for those adding acres or conservation practices to their organic operations, or 90 percent of the costs for those who want to plant organic acres for the first time.

"This is a great opportunity for people who've had that interest, but maybe have been a little concerned about the financial side of transitioning."

To apply, contact your local District County Natural Resource Conservation Service office.

The deadline to apply is May 20. An EQIP fact sheet is at www.cfra.org. Those interested in the grants can also call the Farm Bill Helpline at (402) 687-2100.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND