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Best of NAMA 2024












USDA EASING PRODUCERS’ TRANSITION TO ORGANIC PRODUCTION WITH NEW PROGRAMS
Source: USDA news release

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2024 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new programs, partnerships, grant awards and an additional $10 million in funding to expand the markets for organic products and help producers transition to organic production. These programs will support the development of new and better markets for domestic organic products, provide hands-on training to producers transitioning to organic production and ease the financial burden of obtaining organic certification.  

"Offsetting the costs for organic transition helps more farmers realize higher margins sooner while giving consumers more access to high-demand organic products," Secretary Vilsack said. "The partnerships and technical support we offer will ease the transition for producers, and the investments in grant projects we are announcing today will reduce the organic industry's reliance on imports, lower cost barriers for businesses transitioning to organic, and address crucial infrastructure needs. Together, these resources ensure small and mid-sized producers can gain access to new, profitable markets and further our commitment to maximize American farmers' share of the food dollar."

Today's announcements build on USDA's comprehensive approach to supporting local and regional food systems, expanding access to markets to more producers, and increasing the affordable food supply for more Americans while promoting climate-smart agriculture and ensuring equity for all producers. USDA recognizes that smaller and mid-sized food and farm businesses are essential to a strengthened food supply chain. Launched in 2022, the Organic Transition Initiative (OTI) offers a suite of programs and resources to help existing organic farmers and those transitioning to organic production and processing.

Other efforts under OTI include AMS' National Organic Program's (NOP) Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP). TOPP builds mentorship relationships between transitioning and existing organic farmers to provide technical assistance and wrap-around support in six U.S. regions. Additionally, USDA's Risk Management Agency administers federal crop insurance products, including Whole Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm, which may be good options for organic producers.  

Supporting the development of new and better markets for domestic organic producers

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today awarded approximately $24.8 million for 23 grant projects through the Organic Market Development Grant (OMDG) program. These projects will support the development of new and existing organic markets to increase the consumption of domestic organic agricultural products. The projects funded through this program so far, are anticipated to benefit more than 49,000 producers and over 118 million consumers by increasing organic market opportunities.

With today's announcement, AMS has awarded a total of $75.2 million to 93 projects across the nation through the Organic Market Development Grant program to increase the availability and demand for domestically produced organic agricultural products and to address the need for additional market paths. AMS previously announced awards through this program in January and March 2024.

USDA has made an additional $10 million available through the program. Awards for this funding will be selected from the existing applicants and will be announced this summer.

To read the entire report click here.


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