Mar 20, 2024
USDA awards 60 grants for organic development projects

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) awarded about $40.5 million to 60 grant projects through the Organic Market Development Grant program.

These projects will support the development of new and existing organic markets, support the infrastructure to improve processing capacity, explore emerging technologies to promote organic products and purchase equipment to help meet the increasing demand for organic commodities. USDA anticipates the projects funded through this program will benefit more than 27,000 producers and over 31.8 million consumers by increasing organic market opportunities.

USDA National Organic Program logo sealUSDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small and Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt announced the grants at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California.

“Farmers who choose to grow organic often access new, more and better markets,” Torres Small said in a news release. “At USDA, we are committed to making it easier for farmers who make that choice through programs like the Organic Market Development Grant Program, which supports farmers and increases access to fresh, healthy foods.”

The grants address critical needs within the growing organic industry, Moffitt said.

“The program is a key component of USDA’s Organic Transition Initiative and will increase value added agricultural opportunities for organic producers in rural America,” she said.

In May 2023, USDA announced a total of $75 million available through the Organic Market Development Grant program to increase the availability and demand for domestically produced organic agricultural products and to address the need for additional market paths. This second round of Organic Market Development Grant awards for the market development and promotion, simplified equipment-only, and processing capacity expansion project types is funded by the Commodity Credit Corporation. In January 2024, USDA announced $9.75 million for the first round of awards through this program. USDA will make the final award announcement for this program in the coming months.

Recipients of this funding include:

  • Almar Orchards LLC in Flushing, Michigan, a family-owned organic apple orchard, received funding to purchase and install a washing and sorting line that will enable the orchard to expand into the baby/child food market. This will result in increased domestic sourcing and the orchard will serve as an aggregator for other growers in the region. The increased capacity will also allow Almar to expand organic apple production onto 100 additional acres.
  • Honey Rock LLC, Delta, Colorado, received funding to purchase equipment to turn organic peaches with minor imperfections or are too ripe for shipping into frozen treats for a year-round enterprise. The shelf stable purees will be made into “squeeze popsicles,” for consumers to freeze at home.
  • The Latino Farmers Association’s (LFA) aims to foster equitable participation in the organic marketplace for historically underserved and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, veterans through four key objectives. First, the Van Ness Farmers Market in the District of Columbia will change to an organic-only market, with the Transition to Organic Partnership Program boosting vendor participation. Second, LFA will open three new organic farmers markets in the District of Columbia and one in Southwest Virginia. Third, it will develop a Community-Supported Agriculture system via a Virtual Marketplace. Lastly, LFA will enhance market accessibility by purchasing a box truck, a mobile market and a delivery van.

A full list of awarded projects is available online.

AMS gave priority consideration to projects addressing specific pinpointed market needs for organic grains and livestock feed, organic dairy, organic fibers, organic legumes and other rotational crops, and ingredients currently unavailable in organic form.

This grant program is part of the USDA Organic Transition Initiative, launched in fall 2022, which offers a suite of programs and resources to help existing organic farmers and those transitioning to organic production and processing. Other efforts under the initiative include USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation assistance for transitioning producers, including a new organic management practice standard and plans to leverage partnerships to expand relationships within the organic community, and AMS’ Transition to Organic Partnership Program, which builds mentorship relationships between transitioning and existing organic farmers to provide technical assistance and wrap-around support. Additionally, USDA’s Risk Management Agency provided direct support for crop insurance in 2023.

More information about these initiatives and more can be found at

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