USDA Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) events continue to draw members of local and regional farming communities together. In early summer, more than 20 producers from the TOPP Plains region attended an Intro to Organic Agriculture Field Day on John’s Farm, an organic beef, wheat, and barley farm in Fairview, Oklahoma. The field day welcomed individuals interested in transitioning to organic and provided attendees with on-farm practices, business strategies, and a chance to network with fellow producers.
TOPP Plains region lead Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) partnered with Acres USA to host the event. Participants started the day with field walks through John’s Farm, followed by a full day of educational sessions led by organic and agricultural professionals from Albert Lea Seed, Oklahoma State University, Mercaris, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, and John’s Farm. Attendees held one-on-one conversations with organic producers and industry professionals and received resource materials on TOPP, the Organic Material Review Institute, and the Healthy Soil Summit. Attendees could also a sign up for more information on organic certification with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.
Field Day participants learned about several aspects of organic production. Educational session topics included Organic Agronomy and Seed Selection, Soil Health Management and Soil Testing, Strategic Decision Making for Business Plans, The Current Landscape of Organic Markets, Organic Record Keeping Strategies and Organic Farming in Oklahoma, and Conservation Planning and Funding Opportunities. The day concluded with a hearty discussion on available resources and what it looks like when you put it all together.
About the Transition to Organic Partnership Program
The USDA Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) is investing up to $100 million over five years in cooperative agreements with non-profit organizations who are partnering with others to provide technical assistance and wrap-around support for transitioning and existing organic farmers. USDA is building partnership networks in six regions across the United States with trusted organizations serving direct farmer training, education, and outreach activities.
Plains Regional Lead Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) partners with organizations experienced in the organic industry to provide mentoring services, technical assistance, community building, and organic workforce development for transitioning and existing organic farmers.