$75 Million Available for Organic Market Development
Through the new Organic Market Development Grant (OMDG) Program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will issue up to $75 million in competitive grants. Eligible entities include business entities who produce or handle organic foods, non-profit organizations, tribal governments, and state and local government entities to fund projects designed to expand and improve markets for domestically produced organic products. OMDG is intended to increase the consumption of domestic agricultural commodities by aiding in the expansion of markets or development of new markets, marketing facilities, and uses for such commodities. Through OMDG, AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers and underserved communities. AMS is accepting applications for the program now through August 8, 2023.
What is the purpose of the OMDG Program?
This program will support the development of new and expanded organic markets by providing additional resources for businesses transitioning to organic or initiating new organic production and processing capacity. These investments in certified organic infrastructure, expanding capacity for aggregation, processing, manufacturing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, distribution, or consumer markets, and supporting activities which develop new markets, are anticipated to increase demand for domestically produced organic agricultural products and provide additional market paths. Domestic organic producers and handlers have identified the development of new and expanded organic infrastructure, capacity, and markets as critical needs through public comments and listening sessions.
What projects will OMDG support?
OMDG offers three project types:
1. Market Development and Promotion
Market Development and Promotion supports the development or expansion of new or existing organic markets to create access between organic producers, handlers, and consumers with grants ranging in size from $100,000 to $3,000,000.
2. Processing Capacity Expansion
Processing capacity expansion supports the infrastructure to improve organic agriculture production, processing capacity, and exploring emerging technologies to help keep the demand of organic products with grants ranging in size from $100,000 to $3,000,000.
3. Simplified Equipment-Only Projects
Simplified Equipment-Only Projects will fund equipment-only grants of up to $100,000. Applicants will use a simplified application form, and applications will be reviewed on the same timeframe as other projects. The goal for this project type is to have new equipment purchased and installed within 6 months, or as quickly as practicable, after issuance of the award. This option is a Fixed Price Grant, meaning it will fund only equipment purchases and not associated facility upgrades, staffing, or other costs.
What are USDA’s funding priorities for OMDG?
AMS will give priority consideration to projects addressing the specific pinpointed markets needs below, identified through organic stakeholder comments and feedback.
- Organic grains and livestock feed, building domestic supply of organic grain and feed and associated processing capacity to respond to growing demand and reduce reliance on imports.
- Organic dairy, targeting investments in specialized organic dairy processing infrastructure.
- Organic fibers, the largest and fastest-growing non-food sector in organic – yet where less than 1% of domestic production acreage is certified organic.
- Organic legumes and other rotational crops, including but not limited to processing capacity and consumer product development for peanuts, oats, beans, field peas, barley, and lentils.
- Organic ingredients currently unavailable in commercial form, as evidenced either by inclusion on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances or by data cited in the application.
Additionally, AMS may prioritize applications based on:
- Diversity in applicants funded in geographic regions and across size, scale, or product types.
- For Processing Expansion and Market Development projects: Leverage significant non-Federal financial and technical resources, as appropriate to the scope and scale of the project. Any match above and beyond the match requirement may lend support to the application.
- A focus on developing, customizing or installing climate‐smart equipment that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, increases efficiency in water use, improves air and/or water quality, and/or meets one or more of USDA’s climate action goals.
- On-farm and/or cooperative projects which support multiple producers.
What is required for cost sharing?
For Market Development and Promotion Projects and Processing Capacity Expansion Projects, grant recipients are required to contribute 50 percent of the total federal proposed project cost as a match to Federal funding. For grant recipients that are Historically Underserved Farmers or Ranchers or for other businesses that qualify under the Small Business Administration (SBA) categories of Small Disadvantaged Business, Women-Owned Small Business, and Veteran-Owned Small Business, the match requirement is reduced to 25 percent of the total federal proposed project cost as a match to the Federal funding.
For Simplified Equipment-Only projects, no match is required, and voluntary match will not be considered in selecting projects.
The full Request for Applications can be found here.
For more information on this program or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 530-893-4764.