Posted: September 29, 2009
NRCS Funds Available for Organic Transition and Practices
For a second year, Pennsylvania farmers transitioning to organic agriculture or those who are certified organic have the opportunity to receive assistance for applying conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) organic initiative. Applications are being accepted now until March 12, 2010.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Pennsylvania has set aside $760,000 to support organic agriculture. Approved applicants may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 per year, totaling up to $80,000 over six years.
The EQIP organic initiative is designed to provide financial assistance in the form of payments of 75 percent of the average cost of a conservation practice, or 90 percent of the average cost of a conservation practice if the producer is in a traditionally underserved group, such as limited resource, beginning, or minority farmers.
Technical and financial assistance is available for a large number of conservation practices. Core practices that receive additional consideration as part of the application evaluation process include conservation crop rotation, cover crop, prescribed grazing, nutrient and pest management, conservation cover, field border, riparian herbaceous cover, riparian forested buffer, and windbreaks.
“Through the EQIP organic initiative, organic producers or producers transitioning to organic have a unique opportunity to receive assistance. By separating these producers into a special group, organic initiative applicants only compete with other organic producers for funding,” explains Dave Brown, NRCS State Conservationist. “There is also a general EQIP funding pool in which all eligible agricultural producers can apply for. However, these applicants compete on a wider scale for funding, often against all other producers in a multi-county region or the entire State.”
For more information about EQIP or to apply, go to www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/, or contact your local USDA Service Center.
New Wallace Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center Grants
The new Wallace Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development (HUFED) Center will fund one-to-three year grants to establish and develop food enterprises bringing more healthy food to underserved communities
The Wallace HUFED Center, supported by a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, was created to respond to the growing need to reorganize, rethink and transform the way food is grown, sourced, distributed, marketed and consumed in the United States in order to better meet the need of historically underserved communities. Specifically, the HUFED Center will focus on the need to make more healthy and affordable food available in low-income areas; to increase market access for small and mid-sized agricultural producers; and to promote positive economic activities generated by attracting healthy food enterprises into underserved communities.
The Wallace HUFED is opening a grant program and issuing a call for Letters of Interest (LOI). Grants will range from one year $10,000-$25,000 grants to three year grants up to $100,000. Technical assistance will also be available to successful grantees. LOIs should be brief but carefully thought out concept papers that provide our technical review panel sufficient information. After review, a subset of applicants will be invited to submit full proposals. LOIs are due March 8, 2010 and should be submitted through the online submission form after reviewing the complete Grant Guidelines.
To review or download the full set of Grant Guidelines, which contain instructions for writing and submitting an LOI, further information about the purpose and goals of the Center, and greater detail on grant types, please see www.wallacecenter.org/hufed. You may also contact us via the Wallace HUFED Center Help Line: (703) 531-8810 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Integrated Pest Management: Crops at Risk and Risk Avoidance and Mitigation
Crops at Risk (CAR)
The goal of a CAR project should be to enhance the development and implementation of innovative, ecologically based sustainable IPM systems. Preferably, this should involve a diversity of tactics and approaches for a single or specific food or fiber commodity in commercial production. Applications may address pre- and/or post-harvest systems. Applications may address either a major acreage or high value crop commodity such as key fruits and vegetables. The primary emphasis of the application should be on crop productivity and profitability, while addressing critical environmental quality and human health issues.
Risk Avoidance and Mitigation (RAMP)
The goal of a RAMP project should be to enhance the development and implementation of innovative, ecologically based sustainable IPM strategies and systems for (a) multi-crop food and fiber production systems; (b) an area-wide or a landscape scale agro-ecosystem; or (c) a documented pesticide impact on human or environmental health.
RAMP applications may address major acreage agricultural production systems, high value crops such as key fruit and vegetable systems, or other agro-ecosystems. The primary emphasis of the application should be on productivity and profitability while addressing critical environmental quality and human health issues. The intent of RAMP is to fund medium-term projects that emphasize systems approaches.
Closing date for applications is March 22, 2010.
EPA Strategic Agricultural Initiative Grant Program
EPA Region III is seeking applications from eligible organizations that will promote the transition to reduced-risk pest management practices in agriculture to protect human health and the environment. The SAI program focuses financial resources primarily on minor agricultural crop production.
The goals of the Strategic Agricultural Initiative program are to:
- Demonstrate region specific pest management practices/technologies and integrated crop management systems to replace pesticide options that have been removed via Agency regulatory actions.
- Encourage partnerships between producers, commodity groups, scientists, extension, local/state/federal government agencies, and other stakeholders to demonstrate, promote, and adopt economically viable reduced risk/IPM practices in the field, utilizing outreach and education.
Quantitatively measure and document the effects and impacts of using the reduced risk/IPM programs on the environment, human health and community.
Applicants must propose projects that address at least two of the above goals/objectives in their application submission. Applications are due March 31, 2010.
For more information see: http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/pesticide/SAI2010.pdf