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Organic Trade Association wins $2.5 million to open untapped export markets

Award included in first tranche of USDA's new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program

Maggie McNeil
(202) 615-7997
May 21, 2024
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WASHINGTON, D.C.  — The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is pleased to announce it has been awarded $2.5 million to open and develop untapped export markets for U.S. organic products through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP).  

The award will help fund market development activities over a 5-year period from June 1, 2024, to September 30, 2029. The activities will focus on boosting U.S. organic exports to Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean -- areas beyond the U.S.’s traditional top customers of Canada, Mexico, the European Union and China.  

“Consumer and trade promotional activities historically funded by USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program have been key to opening foreign markets to U.S. organic exports and creating trust in the USDA Organic seal globally. With the allocation of $2.5 million from RAPP funding, the trade association is excited to further develop and expand our global consumer and trade promotional activities,” said Sarah Gorman, Manager of International Trade for OTA.  

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this week the first $300 million tranche of the RAPP awards. In a press call with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Vilsack said the investment underscores USDA’s commitment to addressing challenges related to creating new and better markets for American farmers. 

“Given the rising demand for organic products globally, and especially in Latin America and Southeast Asia, this additional funding offers a significant opportunity for U.S. organic exporters to explore and enter developing markets, driving growth for American organic farmers and industry while contributing to healthier, more sustainable food systems in the region,” said Tom Chapman, co-CEO for the trade association.  

USDA launched the $1.2 billion RAPP in 2023 in response to a bipartisan request from the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee. RAPP’s aim is to diversify and expand market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products into new markets in parts of the world where the middle class is growing and the desire for high-quality food and farm products is increasing. 

OTA market development activities will include designing consumer-focused retail and educational campaigns that highlight the health benefits of organic foods and the quality of USDA-certified organic products, participating in trade shows and organizing trade missions in the targeted countries, and conducting market research to fully understand the preferences of consumers and better position U.S. organic for success in those markets.  

OTA has represented the U.S. organic sector in USDA’s market development programs for more than 20 years, most recently receiving more than a million dollars in funding from USDA’s MAP  to promote U.S. organic products around the world in 2024.  OTA’s member companies provide the bulk of all U.S. organic exports. The market promotion activities administered by the association are open to the entire organic industry, however, not just members. For more information or to sign up for activities, visit OTA’s website.    


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.