The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced late last week that it will provide pandemic-related assistance to cover certification and education expenses to agricultural producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic, a news release from the agency said.

About $20 million in funds will be made available by the USDA through its Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) as part of USDA’s broader Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

“Producers and handlers of organic commodities incur significant costs to obtain or renew organic certification each year,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in the release. “The economic challenges that arose due to the pandemic made obtaining and renewing organic certification financially challenging for many operations. This is one more instance of USDA continuing to provide support for those who need it most, invest in the food supply chain and Build Back Better.”

Certified operations and transitional operations may apply for the OTECP for eligible expenses paid during the 2020, 2021 and 2022 fiscal years. To learn more, visit https://www.usda.gov/topics/organic.

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