A new show of support by the USDA, through a new organic assistance program, shows that organic farming is critical to the American supply chain.

As part of a broader initiative to provide relief from the Covid-19 pandemic to farmers, the United States Department of Agriculture has announced that it will provide $20 million of assistance to farmers who are certified organic or transitioning to certified organic.

The new program, titled “Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP),” is funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Eligible farmers can apply for assistance for expense paid during 2020, 2021, and 2022 fiscal years.

Here are some of the costs covered by OTECP:

  • 25% of a certified farm’s certification expenses, up to $250 per category
  • 75% of a transitional operation’s fees to a certifying agent or consultant (like Rodale Institute’s Organic Consultants!) up to $750 per year
  • 75% of registration fees for educational events for both certified and transitional operations, up to $200 per year
  • 75% of soil testing expenses, not to exceed $100 per year

This initiative signals the value of certified organic production across the country, and the need to encourage more farmers to transition their land to organic. This unprecedented buy-in is the first step to incentivizing, supporting, and building a regenerative organic future.

Learn more about the OTECP here.

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