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Organic Certification + Short Application = Certification Cost Reimbursements

Organic certification is more affordable when USDA pays up to 75 percent of the costs. Funds are still available—as much as $750 per certified operation—to certified organic farmers and businesses. We hope the organic community will help connect certified operations with this opportunity!

Organic certification is more affordable when USDA pays up to 75 percent of the costs. Funds are still available—as much as $750 per certified operation—to certified organic farmers and businesses. We hope the organic community will help connect certified operations with this opportunity!

The Organic Certification Cost Share Programs, which is administered by the USDA National Organic Program, reimburse certified organic farmers, ranchers, processors, and handlers for up to 75 percent of their certification expenses per year.  This year, 49 States are offering cost share assistance, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This program is not competitive, and money is available in all participating states. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis until the money runs out.

Newly certified applicants must have an organic certificate dated between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012 to apply during the 2012 funding cycle. If you are renewing your certification, you can submit your application as soon as you pay your certification fees.

Your state’s deadline may be as early as September 30th, so don’t wait – apply today!

How To Apply:

1.     Contact your state’s Department of Agriculture (or its equivalent) for an application

To find State contacts and other information (including applications for some States) online, visit www.ams.usda.gov/NOPCostShareProgramParticipants. If you don’t have access to the internet, then you can either call your certifying agent or your state Department of Agriculture to get an application.

2.     Assemble your supporting documentation
You will need to show proof of your certification and the expenses you have already paid. Save your invoices, statements, and receipts – they may be required as proof of payment. The following documents are typically requested by State departments of agriculture, but make sure to review your state’s requirements carefully – it is your responsibility to ensure that your application is complete.

·      Proof of USDA organic certification (a copy of your certificate)

·      Itemized invoice showing expenses paid for certification

·      W-9 tax form

Most certification-related expenses are eligible for reimbursement. However, keep in mind that items such as late fees, inspections due to noncompliance, and inspections for certifications other than USDA Organic (such as JAS or Bird Friendly) are not eligible for reimbursement under this program. You may receive one reimbursement per year for a new certification or a renewal of certification, provided that the annual maximum reimbursement does not exceed $750 per certificate. We hope that across the country will take advantage of this will take advantage of this straightforward reimbursement program!

Still have questions? Contact Patricia Atkins, the USDA National Organic Program’s cost share manager, at 202-720-3252 or Patricia.Atkins@ams.usda.gov. Or, visit the cost share webpage at www.ams.usda.gov/NOPCostSharing.

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