What's Up at the USDA Office?

Upcoming Deadlines/Dates
May 15 - August 1: Primary Nesting Season
June 2: ERP Phase 2
June 2: PARP
July 15: Spring Crop Reporting

Conservation Update
submitted by Ben Cottrell, District Conservationist, Waukon
Across Iowa we are seeking applications as we recently released funding for Organic Transition Initiative (OTI) through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) as well as another round of funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). NRCS accepts conservation program applications on a continuous basis but sets application cutoff dates as funding allows. The next application cutoff for OTI and CSP applications is June 15.

Organic Transition Initiative (OTI)
Through OTI, NRCS has dedicated $70 million nationwide to assist producers with a new organic management standard under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The OTI supports conservation activities and practices required for organic certification and may provide foregone income reimbursement for dips in production during the transition period.

We can help individuals adopt the new organic management standard by giving producers flexibility to get the assistance and education they need, such as attending workshops or requesting help from experts or mentors.
OTI-specific practices include:

• Organic Management (Practice Code 823)
• Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition (Practice Code 138)
• Transition to Organic Design (Practice Code 140)
• Conservation Cover (Practice Code 327)
• Conservation Crop Rotation (Practice Code 328)
• Cover Crops (Practice Code 340)
• Field Borders (Practice Code 386)
• Nutrient Management (Practice Code 590)

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
NRCS is also announcing an application cutoff of June 15 for new CSP applications in Fiscal Year 2023 for Iowa farmers. CSP funding is available for organic production practices and applications through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which emphasizes the adoption of climate-smart practices and enhancement activities.

In Iowa, areas of focus for climate smart agriculture include soil health, nutrient stewardship, grazing and pasture lands. Eligible practices include cover crops, no-till, crop rotations, prescribed grazing, and nutrient management.

During this application signup cycle, NRCS will use ACT NOW, where applications can be immediately approved and obligated when an eligible applicant meets or exceeds a predetermined minimum ranking score.
For more information or to apply, stop in the NRCS Office here in Waukon.