In today’s press release, the USDA has announced new figures that show the organic industry continues to grow domestically and internationally. Certified organic farms and businesses in the United States have witnessed a 245% increase since 2002 while consumer demand continues to increase exponentially. To help producers further access these markets, the 2014 farm bill has included provisions to support the organic community, including:
- $20 million annually for organic research, agricultural extension programs and education.
- $5 million to fund data collection on organic agriculture for policy reform.
- Expanded options for organic crop insurance
- Expanded exemptions for organic producers who are paying into commodity “check off” programs, and authority for the 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/year.
For more information, check out the USDA Organic Resources Page