The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from May 11 to 29 for a new initiative under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Agricultural producers who are certified organic producers and those transitioning to organic production can apply.

NRCS is allocating $50 million nationally to this initiative, and more than $926,000 is available in Arizona.

The 2009 Organic Initiative is a nationwide special initiative to provide financial assistance to National Organic Program certified organic producers and producers in the process of transitioning to organic production. Organic producers may also apply for assistance under general EQIP.

Under the Organic Initiative, required minimum core conservation practices will be determined by specific resource concerns. The practices are: conservation crop rotation; cover crop; nutrient management; pest management; prescribed grazing; and forage harvest management.

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land.

Visit the Arizona NRCS Web site to contact your local NRCS office, or call 620-280-8800 for more information.