Certification Cost Share Program
The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is now open for applications. The cost share program helps farmers and processors afford the expense of organic certification by refunding up to 75% of their certification costs per scope of operation, with a maximum of $750 per scope. Don't miss the opportunity to see how cost share can help you!
The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is now open for applications. This program helps farmers and processors afford the expense of organic certification by refunding up to 75% of their certification costs per scope of operation, with a maximum of $750 per scope.
In 2013, only $1.425 million in cost-share funds were available to farmers in 16 states. The new farm bill passed in February 2014 reinstates the program to farmers and handlers in all 50 states for a total of almost $13 million per year.
Organic operations may receive one reimbursement per certificate or scope of certification per year. The NOP currently recognizes four scopes of certification: crops, wild crops, livestock, and processing/handling. This means that clients with more than one certification scope may be eligible for more than one refund.
Eligible operations will be reimbursed up to 75% of their organic certification costs, not to exceed $750, for each NOP scope of organic certification. Any operation that is located within the United States and received organic certification between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014 may apply for reimbursement.
Why is Cost Share Important?
Historically, farm bill funding has not been as generous to organic producers as it has for conventional. Cost share is one of the few programs offered specifically to support organic producers. We encourage all organic farmers, livestock operations, and handlers to take advantage of these funds. If the organic industry can utilize all funds offered through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, it will succeed in demonstrating a need for this funding. If the total allocation of funds is not used by the end of the program, cost share appropriations will likely be reduced during the next round of farm bill negotiations. Whether your operation needs the funds or not, applying helps ensure future funding and program availability for small businesses trying to succeed in the organic marketplace.
How to Get Reimbursed
For information on how to apply for cost-share reimbursement, or find your state’s cost-share contact to ask about application procedures and deadlines in your state.
What are the dates of eligibility for cost share reimbursement?
- For clients who RENEWED organic certification and have paid their certification and inspection fees, you only need to provide proof of payment for eligible fees between October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014.
Please note: You can and should use your certificate – the USDA does not require you to submit a newly issued 2014 certificate in the cost share packet, only a copy of paid invoices by September 30, 2014.
- For NEW clients who have applied for certification for the first time, you must provide proof of payment for all eligible incurred costs and receive your certification before September 30, 2014.
Please note: We are focusing on new client certificate approval as part of the review process to meet this deadline for all new clients.
What is the deadline to apply for cost share reimbursement?
The application deadline is different for each state. For Oregon, the deadline is for submitting your cost share application packet is October 31, 2014. Several states have the same deadline as Oregon, but some also have November deadlines for applying for the reimbursement.
For information on how to apply for cost-share reimbursement in your state, contact your state cost-share representative for deadlines. Contact information state-by-state is available here: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5107877
What do I need for documentation?
In addition to the above mentioned materials, you will need to complete and/or provide:
- A completed state application for cost-share reimbursement
- A copy of your certificate or letter from your certifier that proves you received initial or renewal/continuation of certification between October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014
- Copies of all paid associated organic certification and inspection expense receipts
- A W-9 form
Can Oregon Tilth provide documentation for me?
Oregon Tilth has been working hard to assist states facilitating the cost-share reimbursement. Some states now allow Oregon Tilth to provide the receipt for fees paid and certificates (when applicable) for the clients we certify. Oregon Tilth is happy to provide whatever assistance you may need either directly to you or your state agency.
How much am I eligible to receive reimbursement for?
The maximum reimbursement is 75% (or up to $750) of certification costs per certification scope, including application fees, certification fees and inspection costs.
* Important note: If you have spent $1,000 on certification fees prior to your inspection costs, apply now! You have already maxed out on reimbursement at this point and should not delay with submitting your application per your state’s requirements.
Who is the contact person at Oregon Tilth for all cost share questions?
If you have any questions about cost share, please contact Certifications Operations Assistant, Chelsea Wilson at (541) 359-1967 or Chelsea@tilth.org.
Learn more about the Certification Cost Share Program by reading the Frequently Asked Questions.