FSA Bolsters Programs for Organic Growers


FSA Outreach Focus


Reaching Out to Keep Farmers and Ranchers Informed

February 29, 2016


FSA Strengthens Programs to Support Organic Agriculture

Over the past seven years, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) has worked to expand programs and services that help organic operations. 

Earlier this month, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new step to support farmers transitioning to certified organic production, by expanding a crop insurance option to allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product's actual value. This is one step in a number of programs that FSA provides. Others offerings include, financial assistance to establish conservation buffer zones; financial assistance for crop losses due to natural disasters; interim financing after harvest; loans for storage facilities; and loans to provide help with ownership or operating costs. Learn more about how FSA is helping organic producers.


$18 Million Available to Support Research, Teaching at Historically Black Land-Grant Universities

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced $18 million in grants will be available to strengthen research and teaching at historically black land-grant universities, during a meeting with the 1890's Council in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 29. The grants are available through the 1890 Institution Research, Extension, and Teaching Capacity Building Grants program administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Applications are due March 31. View the request for applications for more information.


Register Today for GroupGAP Webinar

The AMS Specialty Crop Inspection Division will present a webinar on GroupGAP, a program designed to make USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), certification program accessible to all growers. The webinar -- to be held Thursday, March 17 @ 2 p.m. Eastern -- will focus on the specific requirements of the USDA GroupGAP Program including:

  • Benefits of group certification
  • Implementing a successful GroupGAP system
  • Creating a quality management system
  • Buyer's expectation

The webinar is free and open to everyone, but registration is required. Learn more or register today


Announcements and Upcoming Deadlines

  • April 15 is the application deadline for the Organic Transitions Program. The grant supports the development and implementation of research, extension and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers, as well as those who are adopting organic practices.
  • Registration to attend the 2016 USDA Tribal Outreach Forum in Bozeman, Montana, March 23 to 25 is now open. The three-day outreach forum is hosted by USDA in partnership with the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) and Indian Nations Conservation Alliance (INCA). Learn more.
  • Applications for the Request for Applications (RFA) for Outreach, Education, Financial Literacy and Technical Assistance will continue to be accepted through July 11, 2016. FSA has allocated $2.5 million to fund between 25 and 125 awards to partner with non-government organizations with a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS and public and State controlled institutions of higher education. Learn more.
  • March 10 is the application deadline for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. The purpose of this program is to fund projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products.