New Support Program for Operators Transitioning to Organic

Crop and livestock producers and processing and handling operators interested in transition to organic practices now have no cost resources available to receive technical assistance, education, and support for navigating the transition.

South Dakota’s organic farming sector is receiving a significant boost with South Dakota Specialty Producers Association (SDSPA) joining a cooperative agreement under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plains Transition to Organic Partnership Program (Plains TOPP).

Plains TOPP is a collaborative effort serving producers in six states including South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma. Through SDSPA, transitioning organic farmers will have access to a comprehensive suite of resources. Experts will provide guidance on organic management practices, organic certification processes, conservation planning, and business development strategies. Additionally, SDSPA will facilitate networking events, fostering a collaborative environment for transitioning, newly certified, and seasoned organic farmers.

“This cooperative agreement signifies a substantial advancement for organic agriculture in South Dakota. By offering a robust support system, SDSPA empowers organic farmers to not only survive, but flourish within the organic market,” Dr. Angela Jackson, SDSPA Organic Ag Transition Advisor, said.

Program resources include:

  • Organic transition technical assistance virtually or via phone
  • On-site organic transition technical assistance during scheduled site visits
  • S.D. Organic Transition Program informational videos
  • S.D. Organic Transition Resource Guide in development
  • Field Days (June, July, August, September, October, and more in 2025)
  • Webinars (October, November, December, January, February, March, April)
  • Outreach and training events around the state (Spring and Fall)

Stay tuned for upcoming training and event updates through SDSPA’s website, social media channels, and newsletters.

SDSPA invites operators to attend the first program field day focused on ‘Transitioning to Organic Poultry Production’ at PrairieSun Organics in Vermillion, S.D. on Fri., June 21, 2024 from 10 a.m. —2 p.m. CDT. The event will feature production considerations for transitioning to pasture-raised organic egg and broiler production. 

Save the date for additional field days on Aug. 12th at Bear Butte Gardens, Sturgis, S.D and Sept. 20th at Dakotas Best Seed, Platte, S.D. 

Dr. Jackson is the SDSPA contractor for the Plains TOPP Region serving South Dakota. In her role, she will advise and support transitioning producers across the state through organic farming education, technical assistance, and outreach opportunities. 

She has been active in South Dakota organic food and feed production for many years as an inspector/auditor, educator, and a producer. Since 2006, she has been the owner/operator of PrairieSun Organics, a family farm located in Clay County, S.D. PrairieSun Organics is certified to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and Regenerative Organic Certified®. Along with her husband, they raise row crops, vegetables, laying hens for eggs, broiler chickens for meat, and processes their chickens on site.

Jackson has a doctoral degree from the University of South Dakota (USD) School of Education. She taught previously as adjunct faculty in ag business and animal nutrition at a community college in Iowa for nearly a decade. In addition to working for SDSPA, Jackson works for the USD and the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA). 

Her learning farm was designated an Organic Regenerative Learning Center by the ROA for 2024. She is an active member of the Organic Farmers Association and the International Organic Inspectors Association, She is passionate about seeing organic production grow in South Dakota. 

Jackson is available to meet with producers on-site in person or virtually. Agricultural operators in South Dakota can contact the SDSPA Organic Ag Transition Advisor for assistance by emailing or by calling 605-624-1966. 

This program is supported through the USDA. Plains TOPP is a program of the USDA Organic Transition Initiative and is administered by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service NOP.