USDA wants to make it easier for farms to go organic

By Staff
2 Min Read

The Agriculture Department announced more money to help farmers transition to organic production, part of a concerted effort to expand the market and rebuild consumer trust in the label.

An additional $10 million in funding will go toward grants under the Organic Market Development Grant program, which aims to develop organic markets. This comes as the USDA announces $24.8 million for 23 projects for market promotion and processing expansion.

“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,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

The department is also investing in hands-on training for farmers who want to transition to organic farming. The Oregon Tilth and Organic Farming Research Foundation received $5 million from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide training through regional networks and support federal efforts to expand organic production.

Since January, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has awarded a total of $75.2 million to 93 projects through the organic market development grant program. The projects funded through this program so far are anticipated to benefit more than 49,000 producers.

Beyond grants, farmers can recover up to 75% of organic certification costs under the USDA’s Organic Certification Cost Share Program. The department recently restored funding to the cost share program after the Trump administration slashed the amount producers could receive.

Applications opened this month for expenses incurred from Oct. 1, 2023, to Sept. 30, 2024.

“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,” Vilsack said.

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