Organic Support Being Offered by USDA

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Organic, USDA-NRCS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving forward with efforts to help bolster the organic industry. Organic support programs being offered by USDA are part of the Organic Transition Initiative that was launched late last year. The new Organic Market Development Grant (OMDG) Program and the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) are being offered as a means of supporting the sector as a whole.

Organic support

“As USDA works to help make our nation’s food system more resilient and create more options for producers and consumers, we recognize the important role the organic industry can play in expanding opportunities for value-added agriculture, strengthening supply chains and generating revenue for farmers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “For many farmers, the transition period before attaining organic certification can be cost-prohibitive, so USDA is also helping mitigate the risk involved for farmers who want to be able to grow and market organic crops.”  

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will be providing up to $75 million in competitive grants through the OMDG Program. AMS will be accepting applications from non-profit organizations, tribal governments, and government entities through July 10. OMDG is designed to increase the consumption of domestically produced organic products through the expansion of market opportunities. AMS is encouraging applications for projects serving smaller producers, beginning farmers and ranchers, and other underserved communities.

Other organic support being offered by USDA includes the OCCSP, which recently increased the cost share amount. USDA’s Farm Service Agency will cover up to 75 percent of the costs associated with organic certification. OCCSP will cover costs up to $750 for crops, wild crops, livestock, processing, and handling that are incurred between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023. State organic program fees are also eligible for grant assistance for California producers. Applications for the program will be accepted beginning May 15 and will be due October 31.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West