Join us for our upcoming workshop on Organic Certification on June 6th, 2024! Register here

 


 

 

The Northwest Transition to Organic Partnership Program is a coalition of partners providing mentorship, technical assistance and wrap-around support for transitioning and existing organic producers.

 

This coalition of partners serves producers in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. This is a certifier-neutral program.

CFAC is partnering with TOPP to offer support for Montanan organic producers and transitioning producers.

 

Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP)

 

The Northwest Transition to Organic Partnership Program is supported through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP). TOPP is a program of the USDA Organic Transition Initiative and is administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP).

 

Visit Northwest TOPP’s Website


TOPP Mentorship Program: Connecting and Supporting Organic Producers

 

The TOPP mentorship program builds connections between experienced organic producers and producers interested in transitioning to organic, it supports the transition process, and creates a stronger network of organic producers across the country.

Mentorships are available in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. Montana mentees will be matched with Montana mentors, so you’ll be working with an experienced producer who knows our region.

For mentorship, experienced organic producers will be matched with producers transitioning to organic (mentees), and mentors will support the transitioning producer through the transition and certification process. Northwest TOPP will provide guidance and support for the mentorship, and mentors and mentees will meet regularly on their own time either virtually or in person.

Mentors and transitioning producers will work together to set goals for the mentorship year and build a communication system tailored for their individual needs and preferences. Neither the mentor or transitioning producer are expected to work on each other’s operations.

You can participate in this program even if you are not sure that Organic Certification is right for your operation. You do not need to be actively transitioning to organic. This program is designed to help you make that decision!

If you have questions about the TOPP Mentorship Program (which is unique from CFAC’s Farmer Mentor Program) please reach out to britta@cfacmontana.org or fill out our Interest Form to schedule a one-on-one conversation!

 

Mentorship Program Interest Form


Organic Certification for Beginning Farmers Guide

  • CFAC’s ‘Organic Certification for Beginning Farmers’ Guide is a useful resource that can answer some basic questions regarding organic certification for new and beginning producers.

 

  • This guide also has helpful templates for organic recordkeeping attached.

 

 

  • CFAC staff offers free technical assistance to farmers interested in learning more about TOPP’s Mentorship Program, the organic certification process, prohibited materials and inputs, organic marketing, and if organics may be right for your operation. Sign up for a Technical Assistance Session today and chat with a CFAC staff member

Organic Technical Assistance Interest Form

Northwest TOPP is actively seeking experienced and knowledgeable certified organic producers who are passionate about organic production and interested in sharing their expertise to serve as mentors for transitioning producers. This is a paid mentoring opportunity, including paid training, mentorship time, and travel. All crop and livestock producers are welcome to apply! This is a certifier-neutral program, you may be certified with any certifier to participate.
Program requirements for mentors:
  • At least 3 years of experience with organic production and certification
  • Ability to meet 45 hour commitment/year
  • Strong understanding of the rules, challenges and benefits of organic production and certification
  • Interest in mentoring, teaching, and sharing knowledge
  • Mentors receive $3,000 stipend/year of participation
  • Additional stipend for mentors with more than one mentee
  • Applicants with language skills beyond English may be eligible for additional compensation
  • Mentor applications are accepted on a rolling basis
  • Learn more about being a mentor.

 

Mentee: Get Guidance and Support as You Transition to Organic

 

Are you transitioning to organic and interested in learning from an experienced organic producer? Apply now for a mentor to help guide you through the transition process. Mentors who are experts in your area of production will provide advice on organic practices and certification. Owners, managers, and operation employees are all welcome to apply as mentees, you just need to be planning to develop an Organic System Plan and planning to apply for organic certification.

 

    • This is a free mentorship opportunity for all crop and livestock producers transitioning to organic in the northwest region states, including: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming.
    • This is a certifier-neutral program, you may seek certification with any certifier to participate.
    • Learn more about the mentorship opportunity.

 

Questions?

Mentorship Program Interest Form