Transition to Organic Farming Workshops in Tecumseh, Nebraska

Release Date: 

01/19/2009

Contact(s): 

Martin Kleinschmit, martink@cfra.org, Phone: (402) 254-6893 or Elisha Smith, elishas@cfra.org, Phone: (402) 687-2103 ext. 1007
LYONS, NE - An organic transition informational meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 4, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Nemaha NRD office in Tecumseh, NE located at 62160 Highway 136.
Sponsored by the Center for Rural Affairs, the Five Rivers Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and UNL Cooperative Extension and funded through the Nebraska Environmental Trust, this meeting will focus on what is needed to qualify for organic premiums, how to make the transition, and how to apply for the NRCS Organic Transition Incentives.
 
Lunch will be served and included in the $5 registration fee at the door.
 
"With commodity prices falling while crop expenses are accelerating, once again producers are searching for options to cut expenses or increase market prices," said Martin Kleinschmit with the Center for Rural Affairs. "If you fall in this category, attending the informational meeting may provide the answers you are looking for."
 
Organic prices are usually 100-200% of conventional grains.  But, to sell products in the "organic" market, farmers and ranchers must comply with certain restrictions and rules known as the National Organic Rule.  The biggest obstacle for many farmers and ranchers is the 36-month transition period, where no unauthorized inputs can be applied, yet the product does not qualify for the organic premiums.
 
To help farmers and ranchers manage some of the risk of changing management systems, USDA is providing incentive payments through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to reduce financial risk during the three-year transition period. Since EQIP allows for local control to meet local needs, some details of the program may vary between counties and Natural Resource Districts. Application deadline for the program is February 14th 2009 at your local NRCS office.  

For details on the National Organic Program (NOP) rules, visit the USDA's home page: www.usda.gov, click on "Agriculture", then Organic Certification.  For more information on the NRCS EQIP Program, contact your local NRCS office.  David Welsch, dwelsch@westbluefarm.com 402-826-5361 or Martin Kleinschmit, Center for Rural Affairs, martink@cfra.org , 402-254-6893 can provide more details on transitioning to organic production.

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