USDA invests $75 million to help farmers transition to organic production standard

UTAH — Farmers, ranchers, and other types of producers have a growing list of challenges in today’s world. From the high cost of feed bales in a drought to the ever-shrinking water supply, there is a lot to overcome. Luckily for those looking to transition to organic production, there is help.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced an investment of $75 million to help producers make the change. The investment is part of the multi-agency Organic Transition Initiative (OTI).

The OTI provides financial and technical assistance to producers who are new to the organic management standard. While a big part of the investment will be targeted in that direction, it will also allow for partnerships with organic technical experts that will provide a boost to staff capacity and expertise.

A portion of the investment will also go toward helping to build new and better markets, income streams, and regional food systems. Working to make food more affordable and climate-smart agriculture practices are also key aspects.

$70 million of the investment is set up to go directly to farmers under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Funding will partly come from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

“Producers transitioning to organic can count on NRCS for assistance through the process,” said Terry Cosby, NRCS chief. “By strengthening our technical proficiency and providing technical and financial assistance through new tools and practices, we can better support producers through the challenges of organic transition.”

Those interested in applying to the program can apply through the local USDA Service Center. More information on the program, including background on the OTI, can be found on the USDA website.


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