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.
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).
TOPP Mentorship Program: Connecting and Supporting Organic Producers
The TOPP mentorship program builds connections between experienced organic producers and producers 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.
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.
Northwest TOPP is currently accepting mentors and transitioning producers into the program.
Mentor: Unlock Your Potential as a Certified Organic Producer
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.
Technical assistance for transitioning producers
NW TOPP will deliver technical assistance through diverse workshops and field days, in one-on-one settings, and through the production of resources. Technical assistance will cover a range of topics important for the success of organic and transitioning producers such as agronomy, organic certification and recordkeeping, organic regulations and production practices, conservation planning, business planning and market development.
Technical assistance services are still in development. For now, let us know if you’re interested in these types of services and we’ll save your information for when more opportunities come available!