US – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced the allocation of approximately USD 40.5 million across 60 grant projects through the Organic Market Development Grant program.

These grants are aimed at fostering the growth of organic markets, enhancing processing infrastructure, exploring innovative technologies, and procuring equipment to meet the escalating demand for organic commodities.

The announcement was made today at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., by USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small and Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.

Deputy Secretary Torres Small highlighted the significance of these grants in empowering farmers and expanding access to fresh, healthy foods.

“Farmers who choose to grow Organic often access new, more and better markets,” she noted. “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.”

Under Secretary Moffitt emphasized the critical role of these grants in addressing the evolving needs of the organic industry.

“This round of awards through the Organic Market Development Grant program will address critical needs within the nation’s growing organic industry,” she stated.

“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.”

The grants, aimed at increasing the availability and demand for domestically produced organic agricultural products, are funded by the Commodity Credit Corporation.

In partnership with various organizations, the grants will support projects ranging from market development and promotion to simplified equipment acquisition and processing capacity expansion.

Among the notable recipients of these grants are Almar Orchards LLC in Flushing, Mich., which will expand into the baby/kid food market, and the Georgia Organic Peanut Association, Inc., in Camilla, Ga., which will produce certified organic peanut oil for the first time in the Southeast.

Big Sandy Organics, LLC in Big Sandy, Mont., will enhance processing capacity for organic grains and pulse crops.

AMS gave priority consideration to projects addressing specific market needs such as organic grains and livestock feed, dairy, fibers, legumes, and other rotational crops.

This grant program forms part of the USDA Organic Transition Initiative, aimed at supporting existing organic farmers and those transitioning to organic production and processing.

Other efforts under this initiative include conservation assistance, mentorship programs, and direct support for crop insurance. 

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