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USDA supports organic agriculture in all of its agencies

The Agricultural Marketing Service hosts a number of programs of relevance to the organic industry.

The Risk Management Agency helps producers manage their business risks through market-based risk management solutions, such as the programs of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. 

RMA offers federal crop insurance products, and depending on the crop and type of insurance, specific features related to organic production may apply.  RMA maintains an organic crop insurance coverage fact sheet and an organic crop insurance issues webpage.

The Economic Research Service is USDA’s principal social science research agency. 

Relevant to the organic sector, it conducts research on organic agriculture generally, organic price data, organic production data, organic commodity costs and returns, and organic product distribution data.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service conducts surveys and publishes reports that cover many facets of U.S. agriculture. 

In particular, NASS prepares:

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture supports external research, education and extension. 

It partners to develop and support diverse projects related to organic agriculture.  NIFA addresses the needs of organic agriculture through formal grants and competitive funding.  Particular programs of interest to the organic sector include:

The Foreign Agricultural Service is responsible for USDA’s international activities, including market development, trade agreements and negotiations, and the collection and analysis of statistics and market information. 

In particular, FAS administers:

The Agricultural Research Service is USDA’s principal in-house scientific research agency, responsible for developing solutions to agricultural problems. 

Within ARS is the National Agricultural Library, one of the world’s largest agricultural information collections.

The Farm Service Agency manages farm commodity programs; farm ownership, operating and emergency loans and guarantees; conservation and environmental programs; emergency and disaster assistance; energy programs; and domestic and international food assistance. 

Relevant to the organic industry, FSA administers:

The Natural Resources Conservation Service encourages conservation of natural resources on privately owned lands through technical and financial assistance to make land more productive and the environment healthier. 

NRCS partners with certified and transitioning organic producers to design conservation practices, and offers a number of resources for organic producers.  In particular, three programs have specific provisions supporting conservation in organic production systems:

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service promotes plant and animal health, regulates imports of agricultural products, regulates GMOs, and administers the Animal Welfare Act. 

APHIS also responds to animal and plant health emergencies, such as disease outbreaks like citrus greening.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service ensures that the commercial supply of meat, poultry and processed egg products is safe, wholesome and correctly labeled and packaged. 

FSIS involvement in organic is limited to labeling.

Rural Development increases rural residents’ economic opportunities and improves their quality of life by partnering to fund projects that bring services to rural communities. 

There are a variety of grant programs, including:

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion develops and promotes dietary guidance that links current scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers. 

CNPP is the lead agency within the USDA for establishing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  Research comparing conventional and organically produced foods was addressed in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Report.