Organic Trade Association welcomes launch of USDA's Organic Transition Initiative

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) welcomed the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) launch of its new $300 million Organic Transition Initiative, saying the program takes real steps to build the next generation of organic producers and strengthen organic supply chains. 

"Today’s announcement is the largest single investment in organic by USDA and is a big step in the right direction," said Tom Chapman, CEO and executive director of OTA. "For too long, organic agriculture has been underrepresented in government programs and support, and farmers wanting to transition to organic face steep hurdles in accessing tailored organic-appropriate programs and resources at USDA.  OTA has long advocated for better resources to help farmers overcome barriers to transitioning to organic, and we look forward now to helping to ensure that implementation of these programs meet the needs of organic and transitioning farmers and support the goals of the overall sector."

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday detailed the new initiative, which is funded in part by the American Rescue Plan, in a teleconference with organic stakeholders. In a press release, USDA said the department hopes the program will reverse a trend of slow growth in farmers transitioning to organic, open opportunities for new and beginning organic farmers and expand consumer access to organic foods. "The initiative will deliver wrap-around technical assistance, including farmer-to-farmer mentoring; provide direct support through conservation financial assistance and additional crop insurance assistance, and support market development projects in targeted markets," according to the release. 

OTA identified components of the initiative anticipated to have the most impact on organic:

Strengthening USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff expertise in organic agronomy and certification. OTA said this will help expand access to organic experts for organic and transitioning farmers nationwide and is critical for growing organic production in historically underserved areas. 

Investing in regionally-specific technical assistance for transitioning organic farms, which will contribute to building communities and organic economic hot spots. 

Providing direct support and incentives to help farmers participate in crop insurance, which is an important step towards making risk management programs work better for organic and transitioning farmers.   

Organic Trade Association congratulates members for climate-smart USDA awards

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) annoucned that almost a dozen of its members have been chosen by the USDA to participate in transformative projects designed to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint.

As part of its initiative Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, USDA today awarded $2.8 billion worth of cost-share grants for 70 climate-smart projects that the agency estimates have the potential to sequester more than 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The following OTA members are the designated Lead Partner in three separate projects: Cooperative Regions of Organic Produce Pools (CROPP/Organic Valley), Maple Hill Creamery, and Rodale Institute.

Designated as Major Partners in other projects are OTA members: CCOF, Danone North America, Georgia Organics, General Mills, Lunderg Family Farms, Oregon Tilth, Pennsylvania Certified Organic, and Stonyfield Organic.

The Organic Trade Association and The Organic Center are also among the Major Partners of two of the projects.

Ten products for National Organic Month from The Fresh Market

September is National Organic Month, and The Fresh Market, Inc. is celebrating with 10 food products that are all USDA certified organic.

Organic wine grapes: Available in Grenache, Columbard and Carignane for a limited time.

Izzio Take & Bake Breads: Made in small batches using ancient techniques, these oven-ready breads make it easy to experience warm, just-baked bread at home. They bake right in the bag and come in a range of styles, from baguettes to ciabatta.


Farmer Focus Organic & Free-Range Chicken: Plump, healthful and bursting with flavor, this chicken is simple and portioned and trimmed by hand. Farmer Focus allows consumers to trace its chicken back to the specific farm that raised it.

Carbon Neutral Organic Milk: Neutral works with dairy farmers to implement a number of strategies to drive down the carbon emissions of its milk, and what can't be reduced is offset through the purchase of carbon credits from US dairy farmers who turn cow emissions into renewable energy.

Organic Honeycrisp Apples: September kicks off peak season for these apples from Washington, where the state's arid climate and ideal temperatures make for growing the organic apples.

FOND Bone Broth: Available in chicken and beef varieties, this broth is infused with fresh, organic botanicals to maximize the health benefits and flavor. It's shelf stable, without any preservatives, and slow-simmered by hand for 18+ hours for a rich, hearty broth.

Ocean's Halo Sushi Nori & Sushi Rice: Make sushi at home starting with this organic and vegan nori and rice. The rice also makes a base for a poke bowl.

Love Bird Cereal: This is a gut health and immunity boosting organic, grain-free, and no refined sugar cereal (it uses honey and coconut sugar instead). The brand also helps fight childhood cancer by giving 20% of its profit.

De La Calle Tepaches: Low in sugar and less than 40 calories, these naturally fermented probiotic drinks are crafted in Mexico using certified organic pineapples and come in bold combinations like Mango Chili, Pineapple Spice, and Ginger Manzana.

Pasta Toscana Organic Tortiglioni Pasta: This is made in Tuscany, where premium quality hard wheat is farmed, the spring water used to knead the dough runs, and you'll find the plant where the dough is bronze-drawn.

ROAR Organic details expansion plans, sales growth

ROAR Organic, Bethlehem, Pa., shared it is heading into Q4 with a number of notable updates to finish out the year. With the latest SPINS data reporting ROAR Organic retail sales are up 87% year-to-date, the beverage brand continues to expand, including its recent national launch into Whole Foods Market, an upcoming launch into 95% of Kroger stores nationwide, increased availability in key retailer Albertsons/Safeway, and a new president in beverage veteran Bill Lange.


Launching in September, ROAR now will be available in more than 2,000 Kroger stores nationwide in three SKUs. The line of beverages also is expanding into cold cases in select locations of Kroger and Albertsons/Safeway, launching 12-pack cases in Wegmans and continues to see substantial velocity growth in Whole Foods Market since its Q2 launch.

“Coming off the heels of our successful bi-coastal summer sampling campaign, we are excited to bring more shoppers nationwide our Complete Hydration beverages via continued focused sampling activities through the fall,” said Wendy Derbak, director of marketing at ROAR Organic, in a statement. “This gives us the chance to gain new brand fans while also spreading our reach to loyal ROAR® consumers across the country.”