FARMINGTON — Maine has received more than $480,000 for fiscal year 2010 for an initiative to encourage more organic agriculture production. Funding is being made available as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. This is the second year for this initiative. Approximately $429,000 was committed to contacts statewide through this initiative in fiscal year 2009.

Successful applicants will receive funding to implement up to five priority conservation practices designed to improve natural resource conditions. Not only do these practices offer significant environmental benefits, but they are also important to growers. The five practices are crop rotation, cover crop, nutrient management, pest management and mulching.

Applications, received from organic producers or producers in transition to organic farming, will be accepted under this initiative until Jan. 22. Applications will be ranked at that time. Certified organic producers must submit an Organic System Plan at the time of application along with proof of farm ownership. Producers in transition to organic farming must provide proof of farm ownership and written self-certification agreeing to develop an system plan and implement conservation practices consistent with  the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Statute and the system plan.

Interested producers should visit the should visit the Franklin County USDA Service Center, 107 Park St., to determine eligibility. Call Anna Kettle at 778-4767, ext. 108 or Paul Hersey at 778-4767, ext. 105, for more information. Additional information on the initiative is available at www.me.nrcs.usda.gov.


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