Home News Ag Economics Organic Trade Association, The Organic Center Awarded $4.4 Million Market Development Grant

Organic Trade Association, The Organic Center Awarded $4.4 Million Market Development Grant

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) and The Organic Center are pleased to be the recipients of $2.2 million in Organic Market Development Grant (OMDG) matching funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand organic markets through consumer education and promotion.  The funds provided by USDA match those provided by the OTA, The Organic Center and Organic Voices for a three-year project totaling $4.4 million.

The joint project by the trade association and The Organic Center is designed to stimulate the demand for and increase the sales of organic products by promoting the science-backed benefits of USDA certified organic products and farming to consumers. The project will be done in collaboration with Organic Voices and an Industry Advisory Committee.

“We thank USDA for making this project possible with this important funding. Consumers lack information about all that the USDA Organic label stands for and all the benefits it delivers for human health, the environment, and businesses,” said OTA co-CEO Tom Chapman. “Our project aims to increase the consumption of organic by giving consumers access to more credible information about what organic production and processing means, and the advantages it provides.”

“We want to educate people about the difference organic makes, and inspire them to choose organic,” said Dr. Amber Sciligo, Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center. “This project will highlight organics’ ability to protect natural resources, sequester carbon and regenerate soil health, while also providing nutritional benefits and protecting us from synthetic pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics and more. The more educated consumers are about organic, the more likely they will seek out that Organic label.”

The project will develop fresh creative content on the regulatory and science-based environmental, animal and human benefits of organic, focusing on targeted information to motivate consumers to purchase organic products, prioritizing organic dairy, grain and fiber. A full-scale integrated marketing campaign will be launched, and particular focus will be made to ensure that the promotion reaches beyond mainstream organic markets into regions and communities where organic production is not prevalent.

The project will culminate with a final comprehensive report on effective organic consumer marketing strategies, content, and messaging which will be shared with the entire organic industry through the distribution of printed copies of the report, and availability through social media channels.

“The longevity of this project will extend far beyond its 3-year timeframe,” said OTA co-CEO Matthew Dillon. “The creation of valuable educational content and marketing resources will continue to benefit organic producers and brands, while the consumer promotion and education campaign will yield a lasting impact by expanding the community of informed organic consumers to create a growing and stable market for organic.”

The Organic Market Development Grant Program is part of the USDA Organic Transition Initiative, a $300-million initiative launched in 2022, to help existing organic farmers and those transitioning to organic production and processing.

About the Organic Trade Association

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing more than 500 organic businesses across 50 states and 9,500 farmers through its Farmers Advisory Council. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace.

About The Organic Center

The Organic Center is a nonprofit research and education organization whose mission is to convene credible, evidence-based science on the health and environmental impacts of organic food and farming and to communicate the findings to the public. The Center works to fill critical industry knowledge gaps by managing research projects and providing tools and training to help organic farmers and businesses thrive. Its research projects focus on climate change mitigation and environmental health, human health, and building tools and solutions to support organic operations. The Center operates under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association.

About Organic Voices

Organic Voices is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help consumers better appreciate and eliminate confusion about all the benefits of Organic. It is dedicated to educating consumers about the significance of the USDA Organic seal, ROC certification, and GOTS certification through its Only Organic campaign. It creates compelling educational content tailored to inform and engage consumers, using multiple online channels to reach new audiences through large-scale consumer-facing campaigns. Partnering with brands, retailers, farmers, and consumers, Organic Voices strives to amplify the message of the benefits of organic and establish a unified voice throughout the organic industry.

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