USDA Announces Additional Organic Support Available with New Farm Bill

USDA recently announced new figures that show the organic industry continues to grow domestically and globally, with more than 25,000 certified organic operations in more than 120 different countries around the world.

Through the Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program, USDA has helped an additional 763 producers become certified organic in 2013, an increase of 4.2% from the previous year. The industry today encompasses a record breaking 18,513 certified organic farms and businesses in the U.S. alone, representing a 245% increase since 2002. The 2013 list of certified USDA organic operations shows an increased rate of domestic growth within the industry, resuming previous trends.

“Consumer demand for organic products has grown exponentially over the past decade. With retail sales valued at $35 billion last year, the organic industry represents a tremendous economic opportunity for farmers, ranchers ,and rural communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “New support in the 2014 Farm Bill will enhance USDA’s efforts to help producers and small businesses tap into this market and support organic agriculture as it continues to grow and thrive.”

USDA has a number of new and expanded efforts to connect organic farmers and businesses with resources that will ensure the continued growth of the organic industry domestically and abroad. USDA has signed three major trade agreements on organic products, first with Canada and then with the European Union and Japan.

USDA is also helping organic stakeholdsers access programs that support conservation, provide access to loans and grants, fund organic research and education, and mitigate pest emergencies. Funds are currently available for research projects under the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative to solve critical organic agriculture issues, priorities, or problems. The program also funds research projects to enhance the ability of organic producers and processors to grow and market their products. Additional information is available online, and request for proposals are due by May 8.

Additionally, the recently signed 2014 Farm Bill includes provisions that are a greater support to the organic community, including:

    • $20 million annually for dedicated organic research, agricultural Extension programs, and education. The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Every U.S. state and territory has a state office at its land-grant university and a network of local or regional offices staffed by experts that provide useful, practical, and research-based information.
    • $5 million to fund data collection on organic agriculture that will give policymakers, organic farmers, and organic businesses data needed to make sound policy, business, and marketing decisions.
    • Expanded options for organic crop insurance to protect farmers
    • Expanded exemptions for organic producers who are paying into commodity “check off” programs, and authority for USDA to consider an application for the organic sector to establish its own check off.
    • Improved enforcement authority for the National Organic Program to conduct investigations.
    • $5 million for a technology upgrade of the National Organic Program to provide up-to-date information about certified organic operations across the supply chain.
    • $11.5 million annually for certification cost-share assistance, which reimburses the costs of annual certification for organic farmers and livestock producers by covering 75% of certification costs, up to $750 per year.

    Source: USDA news release

Leave a Reply

Fruits Stories
Apples & PearsSurvey: Positive Indicators For Biocontrols In U.S. Horticulture, Agriculture
January 22, 2015
Preliminary results of a survey conducted in December 2014 of more than 850 readers across six Meister Media Worldwide titles Read More
Apples & PearsReal-World Solutions Highlight First Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow
January 22, 2015
Topping the inaugural event's marquee are presentations on “Driving Crop Quality and Productivity Using Biocontrols” by representatives from two of the largest produce growing organizations in the country. Read More
Food SafetyStill Plenty On The Plate Regarding Food Safety Modernization Act [Opinion]
January 22, 2015
Almost two years after originally being proposed, four revised rules are still being picked over. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Launches Latest Insecticide, Sivanto
January 20, 2015
New product delivers precision pest control to preserve the health of plants and protect fruit and vegetable crops. Read More
Food SafetyFood Safety Recall Survival Tips
January 20, 2015
Preparation is critical to ensure a smooth process. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Stay Grounded When Reaching For Lofty Goals [Opinion]
January 20, 2015
Unmanned aerial vehicles are all the rage. Can and will this technology become a standard tool for farmers? Read More
Farm ManagementEcological Farming Association Conference Nears
January 19, 2015
The 35th annual conference will be held Jan. 21-24 in Asilomar, CA. Read More
The Latest
CitrusShopping For UAVs? Here Are 2 To Consider
January 25, 2015
Check out a couple of high-flying options from Altavian. Read More
FruitsJiffy Pumped To Introduce New Produce Propagation Syste…
January 23, 2015
PreGro concept to make its debut at Fruit Logistica. Read More
Apples & PearsSurvey: Positive Indicators For Biocontrols In U.S. Hor…
January 22, 2015
Preliminary results of a survey conducted in December 2014 of more than 850 readers across six Meister Media Worldwide titles Read More
Apples & PearsReal-World Solutions Highlight First Biocontrols 2015 C…
January 22, 2015
Topping the inaugural event's marquee are presentations on “Driving Crop Quality and Productivity Using Biocontrols” by representatives from two of the largest produce growing organizations in the country. Read More
Food SafetyStill Plenty On The Plate Regarding Food Safety Moderni…
January 22, 2015
Almost two years after originally being proposed, four revised rules are still being picked over. Read More
CitrusBayer CropScience Launches Latest Insecticide, Sivanto
January 20, 2015
New product delivers precision pest control to preserve the health of plants and protect fruit and vegetable crops. Read More
Food SafetyFood Safety Recall Survival Tips
January 20, 2015
Preparation is critical to ensure a smooth process. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Stay Grounded When Reaching For Lofty Go…
January 20, 2015
Unmanned aerial vehicles are all the rage. Can and will this technology become a standard tool for farmers? Read More
Farm ManagementEcological Farming Association Conference Nears
January 19, 2015
The 35th annual conference will be held Jan. 21-24 in Asilomar, CA. Read More
CitrusScientists Say 2014 Warmest Year Since 1880
January 19, 2015
Separate studies by NASA and NOAA confirm continuance of long-term warming trend. Read More
Apples & PearsRosBREED 2 Program Focuses On Disease Resistance And Qu…
January 19, 2015
The next generation of the federally funded RosBREED research program uses DNA techniques to deliver varieties that benefit both growers and consumers. Read More
FruitsTable Grape And Tree Fruit Outlook For 2015
January 16, 2015
Barry Bedwell, President of the California Fresh Fruit Association, talks about the state of the table grape and tree fruit Read More
CitrusElevated Expectations For UAV Use In Agriculture
January 15, 2015
Uncertainties aside, many believe unmanned aircraft will find a lasting place in farming. Read More
FruitsUSDA Announces Funding To Support Beginning Farmers
January 14, 2015
The funds will be used to help educate, mentor, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of growers. Read More
FruitsHorticultural Crops Postharvest Technology Short Course
January 12, 2015
This two-week course offers a comprehensive look at postharvest topics, including the latest postharvest technology. Read More
FruitsGrape Vine Pruning Workshop
January 8, 2015
Learn proper pruning techniques at a hands-on workshop offered by the Finger Lakes Grape Program. Read More
CitrusFreeze Threat Has Florida Growers On Alert
January 7, 2015
Technology to help producers prepare for, endure cold snap. Read More
FruitsGet Ready For The 2015 NAFDMA Convention
January 7, 2015
The convention will be held in both Knoxville and Nashville, TN, and will feature bus tour farm visits, educational sessions, and a tradeshow. Read More