Iowa OMS 823 Funding Update - April 23, 2024

Thank you to those who have shared experiences and challenges and/or submitted applications related to OMS 823. Your participation in this process has definitely demonstrated the demand and need for greater funding and support for transitioning and organic producers in Iowa.  The state office recognizes the interest and response from the organic community, as well as some of your frustrations. 

Certified Organic Applications – Organic EQIP/State Organic Initiative ($200,000)

  1. Budget allocations for this funding period are based on previous program dollars used. Organic EQIP hadn’t been fully exhausted in previous years…now with 823, that would likely increase interest for those funds.
  2. 14 certified producers applied for this funding. Only one project was funded from that pool; it ranked first and far exceeded the allowable and available amount.
  3. The state office is waiting for the “dust” to settle from this ranking period to see if additional funds are available after meeting national priorities.
  4. The state office will also be reaching out to national office to see if they can provide additional funds based on applications/interest.
  5. All applications that were not funded this year will automatically be added to FY25 pool, if desired.

Transition Applications – National Organic Transition Initiative ($2.7M)

  1. Announcements for this round of applications/ranking will be made no later than Tuesday (4/23/24).
  2. 34 applications were received; not all will be funded.
  3. 45 applications received since rollout.
  4. If a project wasn’t funded, it will be added to the next round of ranking, if desired.

I know it is frustrating to have put in the time and effort to submit an application (organic EQIP) and not receive a contract. We have learned a lot in this interim phase of implementing and executing this program.  The state office needs to be able to justify an increase to these budget allocations and they need to point to actual applications/practices/demand to justify an increase in those funding pools. This response should hopefully inform budget decisions for increases in FY25. I know it doesn’t help you today, but your participation and involvement is helping to set the stage for expanding organic program resources.

I will also share about some of the successes and challenges related to the Iowa rollout with colleagues at the NOSB meeting next week.

We do want to encourage people to keep submitting applications to demonstrate interest – both transition and certified organic applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Please continue to communicate with me about what is working well, what isn’t…if you need additional guidance and assistance working with your county office – we are here to help.

We really appreciate you and all your feedback in this process – continued improvement and strengthening this program and other available organic resources is truly a community effort and we can’t do it without you – THANK YOU!

Rosalyn Lehman
Executive Director
Iowa Organic Association
PO Box 139, Des Moines, IA  50301
[email protected]  |  515-608-8622