SPOKANE - Washington agricultural producers transitioning to organic production or already certified as organic, may qualify for technical and financial assistance through a new initiative, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced.

More than $1 million in funding will be available to eligible producers in Washington as part of the agency's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

According to Assistant State Conservationist Dave Brown, producers must submit applications by May 29 to be included in the initial ranking for funding. "However, EQIP signup is continuous so producers may submit an application to their local service center at any time," he said.

Organic producers can receive up to $20,000 per year or $80,000 over six years through this initiative. Nationally, six core practices have been identified by NRCS that are likely to be needed by many growers associated with organic production systems.

For more information go to www.ams.usda.gov/nop/). Organic producers may also apply for assistance under general EQIP. Additional information on the 2009 EQIP Organic Initiative is available at: (www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/).

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