Organic trade group applauds USDA funds

USDA made additional funding available for organic producers.
USDA made additional funding available for organic producers.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) today expressed support for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $50 million in new funding to encourage greater production of organic food in the United States.

A portion of the funding has been allocated for every state and is available exclusively through a special signup under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

"The Organic Trade Association is pleased to see this support and recognition from USDA that organic farming practices represent positive environmental practices. OTA believes that this funding will further encourage farmers to use such practices and help increase the U.S. production of organic food to meet growing consumer demand," said Christine Bushway, OTA executive director.

Earlier this week, OTA announced survey results that showed sales of U.S. organic products increased 17 percent in 2008, a bright spot for U.S. producers of farm products and farm equipment in an otherwise suffering market.

Under the initiative, new contracts for organic production are being offered for six core practices, which include conservation crop rotation, cover crops, nutrient management, pest management, prescribed grazing, and forage harvest management. Funding is capped at $20,000 per year.

The sign-up period for the special organic contracts begins May 11 and ends on May 29.