USDA Launches Additional Supports for Organic Growers
To help organic producers mitigate risk, assist growers with the costs associated with transitioning to organic production and expand the organic market, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has supports in place as part of its Organic Transition Initiative.
Organic Certification Cost Share Program
The Farm Service Agency has increased the cost share amount of the Organic Certification Cost Share Program — which helps organic producers cover organic certification costs — to the maximum amount allowed by statute. The FSA will cover 75%, or up to $750 per category, of certification costs. This covers costs incurred from October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023. Those interested in applying should contact the Farm Service Agency at their local USDA Service Center. As part of the application process, applicants will need to provide organic certification and eligible expenses documentation. The deadline for the application is October 31, 2023.
Transition to Organic Partnership Program
The Transition to Organic Partnership Program helps organic farmers receive technical assistance during and after the transition process. The USDA AMS has invested $100 million over five years to establish cooperative agreements with non-profit organizations to connect transitioning farmers with mentors, establish workshops and field days, help producers manage shifts in practices after certification and establish workforce training opportunities.
Transitional Organic Grower Assistance Program
The RMA’s Transitional Organic Grower Assistance Program reduces an organic producer’s overall Federal crop insurance premium bill. It covers applicable policies with sales closing dates from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.
Organic Market Development Grant Program
The new Organic Market Development Grant Program is designed to increase consumption of domestically grown organic products by aiding in the expansion of markets. These grants are available to business entities that produce or handle organic foods, non-profits, tribal governments, and state/local government entities who work to improve the market for organic products. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is accepting applications through July 11, 2023.