Farm Progress

Biden administration looks to increase organic agriculture

USDA accepting application for market development grants

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

May 11, 2023

2 Min Read
Organic section at grocery store
Getty Images

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA will soon begin accepting grant applications to expand and improve markets for domestically produced organic products. The news came during his remarks at Organic Trade Association Annual Policy Conference in Washington. Grant funding will come from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Organic Transition Initiative that was announced last fall.

“As USDA works to help make our nation’s food system more resilient and create more options for producers and consumers, we recognize the important role the organic industry can play in expanding opportunities for value-added agriculture, strengthening supply chains and generating revenue for farmers,” Vilsack said. “For many farmers, the transition period before attaining organic certification can be cost-prohibitive, so USDA is also helping mitigate the risk involved for farmers who want to be able to grow and market organic crops.”

The Organic Transition Initiative was created last year to help organic farmers and producers transition to organic production and processing. It provides mentoring, farmer assistance and market development.

USDA is now accepting applications for the Organic Marketing Development Grant Program. Eligible applicants include business entities that produce or handle organic foods, non-profits, including trade associations, and tribal, state, territory and local government entities in the 50 states as well as American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Applications will be accepted through July 11.

In addition to the newly announced grants, USDA’s Farm Service Agency is offering to help producers attain organic certification. The agency is offering to cover up to 75% of organic certification costs incurred between Oct. 1, 2022, and Sept. 30 this year.

According to USDA statistics, demand for organically produced goods surpassed $67 billion last year, with continued robust growth projected over the next several years.

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About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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