Ohio producers interested in transitioning to organic production are eligible for new funding opportunities tied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) multi-agency Organic Transition Initiative (OTI), which is investing $75 million in conservation assistance. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will dedicate financial and technical assistance to a new organic management standard and partner with new organic technical experts to increase staff capacity and expertise. Interested producers and private forest owners can apply for this opportunity between May 15 and June 15, 2023.
The investment, which includes funds from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), will help build new and better markets and income streams, strengthen local and regional food systems and increase affordable food supply for more Americans, while promoting climate-smart agriculture and ensuring equity for all producers.
Direct Farmer Assistance
NRCS will dedicate $70 million to assist producers with a new organic management standard under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The agency will help producers adopt the new organic management standard, which allows flexibility for producers to get the assistance and education they need such as attending workshops or requesting help from experts or mentors. It supports conservation practices required for organic certification and may provide foregone income reimbursement for dips in production during the transition period.
Higher payment rates and other options are available for underserved producers including socially disadvantaged, beginning, veteran, and limited resource farmers and ranchers.
Find Ohio’s ranking dates as well as other program information on the Ohio NRCS EQIP website. To learn more about other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact your local USDA Service Center.
About the Organic Transition Initiative
These NRCS investments are part of the OTI, a multi-agency $300 million effort to support organic and transitioning producers. OTI also includes farmer-to-farmer mentoring, direct support for crop insurance, and market development projects. Read the national press release for more details about assistance for producers transitioning to organic and the notice of funding to hire organic technical experts.