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USDA offers Organic Initiative

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The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is advising organic farmers and farmers transitioning to organic to act swiftly to benefit from a new Organic Initiative offered by the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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More than $1.75 million is available in Minnesota. The signup period for this year's special pool of funds ends May 29. This is the first year of the Organic Initiative, which was authorized in the 2008 federal Farm Bill.

The program offers financial support and technical assistance to help farmers adopt and implement conservation practices that are suitable for organic production. Per-acre payments are available for any or all of the following practices: conservation crop rotations, cover crops, nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, and forage harvest management.

For details on the program or to apply, contact NRCS field staff at a county USDA Service Center. For a list of centers in Minnesota, visit offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app. Information about organic certification requirements and related topics is available at www.mda.state.mn.us/food/organic.

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