The Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) will invest up to $100 million over five years in cooperative agreements with non-profit organizations who will partner with others to provide technical assistance and wrap-around support for transitioning farmers. AMS will build partnership networks in six regions across the United States with trusted organizations serving direct farmer training, education, and outreach activities.
The partner organizations will:
- Connect transitioning farmers with mentors for at least one year after certification.
- Build paid mentoring networks to share practical insights and advice.
- Provide community building opportunities to include:
- Train-the-mentor support
- Technical assistance
- Workshops and field days covering topics including organic production practices, certification, conservation planning, business development (including navigating the supply chain), regulations, and marketing
- Help transitioning and recently transitioned producers overcome technical, cultural, and financial shifts during and immediately following certification.
- Engage educational and training institutions (including crop advisors and extension agents) on organic workforce training and education and future human capital planning.
Over time, technical assistance resources will be made available to all candidate and existing organic farmers through the USDA website.
USDA is committed to equity in program delivery and will actively seek trusted partners to provide mentoring opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color farmers and producers.
In the coming weeks, the National Organic Program will be working with proposed lead nonprofit organizations in each region to stand up teams under cooperative agreements. We will announce those agreements as they are established. The leads will establish partnerships with multiple organizations to achieve the goals of the mentoring program.
Additional News and Resources
- News Release: Organic Transition Initiative (issued August 22, 2022)
- Transitioning to Organic
- Farmers.gov – Organic Farmers
- Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP)
- Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP)
- NRCS offers conservation programs
- Whole Farm Revenue Protection
- Micro Farm Program
- Organic Regulations