In the current issue of Certified Organic, CCOF announced our new grant opportunity for small-scale Salinas Valley farmers on the path to becoming organic farm owners. More specifically, grantees will be implementing regenerative practices that have been the hallmarks of organic production for decades, including crop rotation, cover cropping, mulching, composting, and other soil-building practices.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress to help America recover from COVID-19, includes $5 billion in farm debt relief for producers who are members of socially disadvantaged groups that have historically been subject to discrimination and underserved by U.S. government programs. Black/African American , American Indian, Alaskan Native, Latinx, Asian American, and Pacific Islander producers who have farm loans through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) or private lenders with FSA guarantees are eligible for relief.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has expanded the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which offers funding to producers who have been impacted by market disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Value-added products can make a significant contribution to a farm’s cash flow when a crop grown on the farm is processed into a food product, such as salsa or jam, that can be sold at a higher price. USDA offers funding to support farmers and groups of farmers developing value-added enterprises through the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.
USDA has adjusted the VAPG program in response to COVID, including
Earlier this month, the federal government approved $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 economic relief, including $1400 stimulus checks for most Americans, vaccination resources, and aid to state and local governments. Provisions in the package for agriculture, known as the American Rescue Plan, amount to a relatively minor $16 billion spread across several programs.
Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) announced a $318,300 federal grant for the CCOF Foundation in Santa Cruz, California. The CCOF Foundation will use the USDA-awarded grant to lead a multi-state initiative to support organic food processors through food safety compliance training and education.
CCOF’s proposal to add an Organic Transition Option to the California Healthy Soils Program was stymied on October 15 by the panel that advises the secretary of food and agriculture on the program. Instead, the panel approved a recently submitted recommendation from the California Farm Bureau Federation to establish a new program that would provide funding for farm planning.
Want to take your farm forward and transition to organic? Maybe you’re already practicing organic methods and need that final incentive to get certified. Now is your chance to lessen the financial challenge of transition—apply for a $5,000 grant to help you make the transition to organic.
Note: This post was written on March 26, 2020. On March 27, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the bill and it was signed into law by the President.
As farmers and communities all across the country continue to deal with the impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Congress has been working around the clock to pass another round of emergency aid, this time targeted at small businesses and those who have lost income as a result of the crisis (including farmers), as well as boosting our medical capacity to respond.