USDA Builds Pandemic Support for Certified Organic, Transitioning Operations

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide pandemic assistance to cover certification and education expenses to certified organic agricultural producers or those transitioning to organic.

USDA will make $20 million available through the new Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) as part of USDA’s broader Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. It provides new, broader and more equitable opportunities for farmers, ranchers and producers.    

OTECP funding is provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Certified operations and transitional operations may apply for OTECP for eligible expenses paid during the 2020, 2021 and 2022 fiscal years. For each year, OTECP covers 25% of a certified operation’s eligible certification expenses, up to $250 per certification category (crop, livestock, wild crop, handling and State Organic Program fee). This includes application fees, inspection fees, USDA organic certification costs, state organic program fees and more.    

Signup for 2020 and 2021 OTECP will be today, Nov. 8, 2021, through Jan. 7, 2022. Producers apply through their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and can also obtain one-on-one support with applications by calling 877-508-8364.

Source: USDA