The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) will invest up to $300 million, including with American Rescue Plan funds, in a new Organic Transition Initiative that aims to help build new and better markets and streams of income for farmers and producers. The impetus according to the USDA: Organic production allows producers to hold a unique position in the marketplace and thus take home a greater share of the food dollar.
According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, the number of non-certified organic farms actively transitioning to organic production dropped by nearly 71 per cent since 2008. Through the comprehensive support provided by this initiative, USDA hopes to reverse this trend, opening opportunities for new and beginning farmers and expanding direct consumer access to organic foods through increased production.
The initiative will deliver wrap-around technical assistance, including farmer-to-farmer mentoring; provide direct support through conservation financial assistance and additional crop insurance assistance, and support market development projects in targeted markets.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are the primary agencies supporting the initiative, which will focus on three areas.
- Transition to Organic Partnership Program
- Direct Farmer Assistance
- Organic Pinpointed Market Development Support