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Interested Agricultural Operators Are Encouraged to Apply for NRCS’ Organic Assistance

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in California is encouraging farmers and ranchers to participate in the Organic Transition Initiative (OTI), to support agricultural producers interested in transitioning to organic. Producers beginning or in the process of transitioning to organic certification are encouraged to apply at their local NRCS Service Center by February 16, 2024.  

“California is the country’s number one organic-growing state, and NRCS is here to assist you transition to organic if it meets your operation’s goals,” said NRCS California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “The Organic Transition Initiative can also assist you in gaining organic knowledge through education and mentoring. Right now, it’s a great time to apply for conservation assistance as we have additional funding for our popular programs from the Inflation Reduction Act.” 

NRCS and Organic Transition Initiative 
NRCS introduced a new organic management conservation practice in fiscal year 2023 as part of the initiative. It allows flexibility for producers to get the assistance and education they need, such as attending workshops or requesting help from experts or mentors. It also supports organic conservation activities and practices required for organic certification and may provide foregone income reimbursement for dips in production during the transition period. Higher payment rates and other options are available for underserved producers including socially disadvantaged, beginning, veteran and limited resource farmers and ranchers.     

In 2023, NRCS California invested $880,000 to help participating farmers transition their operations.  

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