USDA will spend up to $300 million, in part from American Rescue Plan funds, in a new Organic Transition Initiative to provide support for farmers transitioning to organic production.
The program is aimed at helping farmers through the three-year period before organic certification, during which they must following organic rules, including a prohibition against synthetic pesticides, but cannot call their crop organic.
Assistance will include farmer-to-farmer mentoring; direct support through conservation financial assistance and additional crop insurance assistance; and market development projects in targeted markets.
It’s part of USDA’s “food system transformation effort” to support local and regional food systems, expand access to markets to more producers and increase affordable food supply for more Americans, while promoting climate-smart agriculture and ensuring equity for all producers.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Risk Management Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service 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