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USDA assigns up to $300 million to new Organic Transition Initiative

Mon 29/08/2022 by Richard Wilkinson
Aerial panorama of the Mississippi River flows in the distance and it is not uncommon to see water flood the fields in the foreground where Charlie Roberts, owner of Roberts Farms focuses on utilizing conservation practices developed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to utilizes cover crops to prevent sheet, rill, and ephemeral gullies; and implementing soil health principals that improve soil health of his land, in Lauderdale County, TN, on Sept 20, 2019. Cover crops have helped stabilize and hold the soil in place when waters flow over the fields.

The US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA is to invest $300 million in a new Organic Transition Initiative to help build new and better markets and streams of income for farmers and producers.

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, the number of non-certified organic farms actively transitioning to organic production in the US has fallen by nearly 71% since 2008. The comprehensive support provided by this initiative is aimed at reversing 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.

“Farmers face challenging technical, cultural, and market shifts while transitioning to organic production, and even during the first years after successful organic certification,” said Vilsack.

“Through this multi-phased, multi-agency initiative, we are expanding USDA’s support of organic farmers to help them with every step of their transition as they work to become certified and secure markets for their products.”

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