DENVER, CO, MAY 15, 2023 – Clint Evans, NRCS State Conservationist in Colorado announced today, funding availability for Colorado ag producers transitioning to organic operations. As part of the multi-agency Organic Transition Initiative (OTI), USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will dedicate financial and technical assistance to a new organic management standard. NRCS is accepting applications until June 15, 2023.
The NRCS will help producers adopt the new organic management standard, which allows flexibility for producers to get the assistance and education they need such as attending workshops or requesting help from experts or mentors. It supports conservation practices required for organic certification and may provide foregone income reimbursement for dips in production during the transition period.
Higher payment rates and other options are available for underserved producers including socially disadvantaged, beginning, veteran, and limited resource farmers and ranchers.
How to Apply
To apply or for more information, interested producers should contact their local Colorado NRCS field office located in the USDA Service Center that services their County. Eligible producers include farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and other producers beginning or in the process of transitioning to organic certification. Applications are accepted at local NRCS field offices and must be received by 4:00p.m., June 15, 2023.
About the Organic Transition Initiative
These NRCS investments are part of the OTI, a multi-agency $300 million effort to support organic and transitioning producers. OTI also includes farmer-to-farmer mentoring, direct support for crop insurance, and market development projects.
In addition to NRCS, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Risk Management Agency (RMA) are the primary agencies supporting OTI and are closely collaborating on implementation. As part of OTI’s cross-agency coordination, NRCS organic specialists will be closely connected with the AMS Transition to Organic Partnership Program regional partners, to align and share resources and best practices. NRCS and AMS’s National Organic Program also plan to coordinate data collection activities, to prevent transitioning farmers from having to submit duplicative information as much as possible. AMS will also soon announce a funding program to support the creation of new and improved markets for domestically produced organic products and provide critical companion resources to existing and transitioning organic producers.
RMA reminds producers interested in the Transitional and Organic Grower Assistance Program, also part of OTI, to visit with their crop insurance agent for more information. Premium benefits for eligible policies will be automatically applied to the producer’s billing statement later this year.
Other USDA Organic Assistance
OTI complements existing assistance for organic producers, including FSA’s Organic Certification Cost Share Program which helps producers obtain or renew their organic certification.
RMA also administers federal crop insurance options, including Whole Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm, which may be good options for organic producers.
The National Organic Program is a federal regulatory program, administered by AMS, that develops and enforces consistent national standards for organically produced agricultural products sold in the United States.
For more information, visit farmers.gov/organic.