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USDA boosts support for organic farming transition

USDA boosts support for organic farming transition

By Jamie Martin

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a new suite of programs and partnerships aimed at supporting organic farming in the United States. These initiatives include a significant investment of $10 million to develop markets for organic products and ease the transition for producers moving towards organic practices.

The Organic Transition Initiative (OTI), launched in 2022, is central to these efforts, offering resources such as mentorship through the Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) and tailored insurance products to mitigate risks for organic farmers.

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has awarded $24.8 million to 23 projects under the Organic Market Development Grant (OMDG) program, which aims to increase the consumption of domestic organic products and support the infrastructure needed for growing organic markets. This funding is part of a broader allocation that has totaled $75.2 million across 93 projects nationwide, reflecting a substantial commitment to bolstering organic agriculture.

In addition to market development, the USDA is facilitating the organic certification process through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP), which covers up to 75% of certification costs. This initiative is designed to lower the barriers for farmers and handlers seeking organic certification, thereby encouraging more organic production.

Partnerships with organizations like Oregon Tilth and the Organic Farming Research Foundation are enhancing on-the-ground support for farmers transitioning too organic. These collaborations focus on providing expert training and resources to build a more robust organic farming community.

Photo Credit: usda

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