Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP)

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Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP)

The Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) is a nationwide initiative to provide mentorship, technical assistance, and wrap-around support to transitioning and existing organic producers.

 

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TOPP Logo

TOPP is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Organic Transition Initiative and is administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP).

 

Through TOPP, CCOF leads the Western Regional Center for Organic Transition, working with a coalition of partners to provide producers in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Texas with:

MENTORSHIP: Connecting transitioning producers with experienced organic producer mentors.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: Providing organic-specific technical assistance resources and advising.
ORGANIC WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: Supporting the organic workforce through training and education.
COMMUNITY BUILDING: Offering and supporting conferences, workshops and field days to connect the organic agricultural community 

 

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Salazar Family

MENTORSHIP

Producers seeking organic certification are connected with experienced, mentor producers for support and guidance through the transition to organic. Mentorship is available in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah.

Qualified mentors have at least three years of experience with organic production and certification, are able to provide 45 hours of mentorship per year, have a strong understanding of the organic rules and regulations, understand the challenges and benefits of organic production and certification, and are interested in sharing knowledge and giving back to the organic community. Read the full requirements of a qualified mentor here.

To learn more about mentorship and how to apply, visit www.organictransition.org.

Partners providing mentorship include:
Arizona State University Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems
Hawaii Farmers Union United
La Semillia
Rodale Institute
Red Acre Center
Texas A&M Agrilife Extension
Utah State University

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Blueberries

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

Organic transition thrives when there is a robust landscape of organic technical assistance. TOPP invests in skill development for existing service providers and increases the supply and quality of technical assistance available to producers. Assistance comes in many forms: improved resources, one-on-one sessions, workshops, community events, and more.  

Partners providing Technical Assistance include: 
Organic Agronomy Training Service (OATS) 
Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF)  
Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) 
UCANR & UC Organic Ag Institute 
Agriculture and Land Based Training Association (ALBA) 
University of Hawaii & College of Tropical Agriculture 
Hawaii Farmers Union United 
La Semillia
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Utah State University
Red Acre Center
Rodale Institute  
Texas A&M Agrilife Extension 
Farmshare Austin
Arizona State University Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems
Dry Coop and Oatman Farms

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Market Stand

ORGANIC WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Organic agriculture is the foundation of an interconnected organic industry and everyone along the organic supply chain has a critical role to play in the growth of organic. TOPP invests in the organic workforce to ensure that every link of the chain thrives, from entrepreneurs to technical service providers, food scientists to wholesale packing houses, and school food services to academic programs.

Partners implementing organic workforce development include:
Agriculture and Land Based Training Association (ALBA) 
California Polytechnic University (CalPoly) 
Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) 
MA’O Organic Farms 
University of Reno Desert Farming Initiative 
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
 

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Grape field

COMMUNITY BUILDING

Peer-to-peer learning, field demonstrations, and informal social networks create on-the-ground support for organic transition. TOPP strengthens existing networks and invests in regions lacking robust community networks and events.  

Partners working to build community include: 
Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) 
UCANR & UC Organic Ag Institute 
Agriculture and Land Based Training Association (ALBA) 
Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm)
University of Hawaii & College of Tropical Agriculture 
Hawaii Farmers Union United 
MA’O Organic Farms 
La Semillia
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
University of Reno Desert Farming Initiative 
Utah State University
Red Acre Center
Rodale Institute  
Texas A&M Agrilife Extension 
Farmshare Austin
Arizona State University Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems
Dry Coop and Oatman Farms
Intertribal Agricultural Council  
Latino Farmer Conference 
Quivera Coalition
Southern Family Farmers & Food Systems Conference
Texas Organic Farmers and Garden Association


For more information, email CCOF Education Manager Molly Nakahara at toppmentorship@ccof.org.