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AnnouncementSeptember 23, 2015

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is pleased to announce that USDA has committed $2.5 million in grants to expand farmer outreach & education.  In addition, AMS is sharing resources from the Tools for Transition Project and an international organic conference held last year funded in part by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
USDA Commits $2.5 Million to Expand Farmer Outreach & Education
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced yesterday that $2.5 million in grants is now available for projects to educate producers about more than 20 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) programs that can provide financial, disaster or technical assistance to the agricultural community.
 The grants will be awarded to nonprofits and public higher education institutions that develop proposals to improve farmer education of beginning farmers, veterans, underserved and/or established producers.  Awards between $20,000 and $100,000 per applicant will be available.
 USDA will conduct four evaluation periods with application deadlines of Nov. 20, 2015; Jan. 22, 2015; Mar. 18, 2016; and May 27, 2016.
To learn more about the funding solicitation and the related Farm Service Agency programs, visit with the reference number USDA-FSA-CA-2015-001.
For details on how to join an online information session that will be conducted on Sept. 28, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, please visit

Tools for Transition Project
The Tools for Transition Project, a research project by the University of Minnesota funded by a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), has generated useful resources on organic transition.
 One useful resource that conveys lessons learned is the publication Making the Transition to Organic: Ten Farm Profiles. The document features livestock, field crop, and vegetable producers who, during 2012-2015, were in the process of transitioning or who had been recently certified organic. Each profile addresses organic transition strategies (full transition, gradual transition, immediate transition, and split transition), challenges encountered, and outcomes deemed "most satisfying."
For more information about the project and other resources, visit 

International Organic Conference Proceedings Published
The proceeding to an international organic conference held last November in Long Beach, California have been published.
The conference "Innovations in Organic Food Systems for Sustainable Production and Enhanced Ecosystem Services" was sponsored by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
 Additional support for the conference was provided by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS), and the American Society of Agronomy, Organic Management Systems Community (ASA-OMS).
The conference proceedings have been compiled in a special issue of Sustainable Agriculture Research, an international, double-blind peer-reviewed, open-access journal which publishes original research, applied, and educational articles monthly in all areas of agricultural science.
To view the proceedings, go to or go directly to the Special Issue, Vol 4, No 3 (2015).
About the Agricultural Marketing Service

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) facilitates the competitive and efficient marketing of agricultural products. Through its National Organic Program, AMS facilitates trade and ensures the integrity of organic agricultural products by consistently implementing organic standards and enforcing compliance with the regulations throughout the world. Learn more.

About the USDA Organic Insider

The USDA Organic Insider informs the organic community on a wide range of functions, including regulatory updates, requests for public comments, and USDA programs and services.

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