USDA creates new organic resources

The USDA is allocating $300 million to the new Organic Transition Initiative.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the funds will be split evenly between technical assistance for farmers, conservation practices, and expanded crop insurance.

“It’s important for us to have wrap-around technical assistance, allowing farmers to learn the process from farmers who have already gone through the process,” he says.

The agency is establishing six regions across the U.S. and identifying organic producers to act as mentors to those transitioning as part of the program.

Farmer Gale of Deep Roots Farm in Maryland joined Vilsack for the announcement Monday, saying having support while transitioning to organic has helped her business succeed.

“Get someone who has done it, that can provide you guidance and be a mentor to you, because that is really going to help pull you through during those tough times,” she shares.

USDA says the number of non-certified organic farms actively transitioning to organic since 2008 has declined by more than 70 percent and the new program is meant to reverse that trend.

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