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USDA Amends Certification Cost Assistance Program

The USDA, today, announced that they have amended the organic certification cost share program, resulting in funds being eligible to more farmers, producers and processors.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2008 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced an amendment to its National Organic Certification Cost Assistance program, first announced Sept. 18. USDA has amended the program by changing the start date from Oct. 1, 2008, to Oct. 1, 2007. The change will make funds available to a greater number of eligible persons, achieving Congress' intent that use of cost-share funds begin with Fiscal Year 2008.

The funds are available for producers and handlers of organic agricultural products in any state of the United States of America, its territories, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (hereinafter called states).

The National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 6523), allocates funds in proportion to the number of organic producers and handlers in each state. The states will reimburse each eligible producer or handler up to 75 percent of its organic certification costs, not to exceed $750.
 
To be eligible for reimbursement, an organic production or handling operation must be located within a qualified state, comply with USDA National Organic Program regulations for organic production or handling and have received certification or continuation of certification by a USDA-accredited certifying agent.

Additional information is available on the National Organic Program's homepage: www.ams.usda.gov/nop. The docket will be published in the Nov. 10, 2008, Federal Register.

Contact your state Department of Agriculture to inquire about reimbursement in your state!

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