The USDA provides funding annually—for the past 15 years—to offset up to 75 percent of the previous year’s costs incurred from certification. Civil Eats reports on the challenges in outreach to certified operators about claiming these funds.
Previously, the Organic Cost Share Program’s funding and outreach was managed by the Agricultural Marketing Services through state programs. In 2016, the USDA moved the program to the Farm Service Agency (FSA). One of the largest barriers continues to be a lack of awareness that the program even exists.
Alyssa Charney, a policy specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), is optimistic that FSA can get the job done—but it’ll take time.
“I do think there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of making sure FSA employees are working with producers,” Charney said. “This is a new program for them, and I think they’re taking steps. That’s going to take time and training and outreach.”
Oregon Tilth continues to provide support and outreach, encouraging all organic farmers, livestock operations and handlers to apply for cost share funding support. To learn more, visit our Cost Share Program page.Read more on Civil Eats