USDA distributing $40.5 million in grants to support organic products

Officials announced the new grants at New Hope Network’s State of Organic session during Natural Products Expo West. Learn more about the recipients.

March 14, 2024

3 Min Read
Burroughs Family Farms

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service today awarded approximately $40.5 million for 60 grant projects through the Organic Market Development Grant program.

Xochitl Torres Small, USDA deputy secretary, and Jenny Lester Moffitt, under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, made the announcement today at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California.

These projects will support the development of new and existing organic markets, support the infrastructure to improve processing capacity, explore emerging technologies to promote organic product, and purchase equipment to help meet the increasing demand for organic commodities. The agency expects these projects funded will benefit more than 27,000 producers and more than 31.8 million consumers by increasing organic market opportunities.

“Farmers who choose to grow Organic often access new, more and better markets," Torres Small said in a released statement. "At USDA, we are committed to making it easier for farmers who make that choice through programs like the Organic Market Development Grant Program, which supports farmers and increases access to fresh, healthy foods.”

The awards will address critical needs in the expanding organic products industry, Moffitt said.

“The program is a key component of USDA’s Organic Transition Initiative and will increase value-added agricultural opportunities for organic producers in rural America,” she said

In May 2023, USDA announced a total of $75 million available through the Organic Market Development Grant program to increase the availability and demand for domestically produced organic agricultural products and to address the need for additional market paths.

This second round of Organic Market Development Grant awards for the market development and promotion, simplified equipment-only, and processing capacity expansion project types is funded by the Commodity Credit Corporation. In January 2024, the USDA announced $9.75 million for the first round of awards through this program. The agency will make the final award announcement for this program in the coming months. 

Gruff Ancient Grain Grits capitalizes on NEXTY Award. Photo credit Gruff Ancient Grain Grits readers might recognize Cream of the West, a sister company of Gruff. This brand received $603,000 to fully convert to organic production and expand Gruff in the next three years. Gruff Ancient Grain Grits won an Expo East 2023 NEXTY Award for Best Certified Regenerative Organic Product.

Burroughs Family Farms received $1.17 million to increase sales of its organic almond and olive products, in part by expanding into the central and southern United States. It also will create new products. Burroughs Family Farm, which is exhibiting at Expo West, is a finalist for a 2024 Expo West NEXTY Award in the Planet Forward category. The awards ceremony begins at 6 p.m. PDT and will be livestreamed here.

Catspring Yaupon, a tea brand from Texas, received $800,000. The company plans to expand awareness of organic yaupon tea—North America’s only caffeinated plant—through foodservice.

The USDA highlighted three other organizations:

  • Almar Orchards LLC in Flushing, Michigan, a family-owned organic apple orchard, was awarded $99,582 to purchase and install a washing and sorting line to expand into the baby/kid food market.

  • In partnership with Oliver Oil Company, the Georgia Organic Peanut Association Inc., in Camilla, Georgia, will use $185,400 in grant funds to purchase processing equipment that will enable, for the first time in the Southeast, production of USDA Organic peanut oil.

  • Big Sandy Organics LLC in Big Sandy, Montana, received $3 million to increase processing capacity for organic grains and pulse crops.

A full list of awarded projects is available on the OMDG webpage.

AMS gave priority consideration to projects addressing specific pinpointed market needs for organic grains and livestock feed, organic dairy, organic fibers, organic legumes and other rotational crops, and organic ingredients currently unavailable in organic form.

This grant program is part of the USDA Organic Transition Initiative, launched in fall 2022, which offers a suite of programs and resources to help existing organic farmers and those transitioning to organic production and processing.

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