USDA Builds Pandemic Support for Certified and Transitioning Organic Operations


The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced pandemic assistance to cover certification and education expenses to certified organic producers or transitioning to organic. USDA will make $20 million available through the new Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program. During the COVID-19 pandemic, certified organic and transitional operations faced challenges due to loss of markets, and increased costs and labor shortages, in addition to costs related to obtaining or renewing their organic certification, which producers and handlers of conventionally grown commodities do not incur. Certified operations and transitional operations may apply for funding for eligible expenses paid during the 2020, 2021 and 2022 fiscal years. For each year, the program covers 25 percent of a certified operation’s eligible certification expenses, up to $250 per certification. Crop and livestock operations transitioning to organic production may be eligible for 75 percent of a transitional operation’s eligible expenses, up to $750, for each year. Signup for 2020 and 2021 will begin November 8, 2021.