Protect 2020 Cost Share funds to help organic farmers
The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program helps certified operators afford the expense of organic certification. The deadline to apply is October 31, 2020.
From 2020 through 2023, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is revising the reimbursement amount to 50 percent of a certified organic operation’s eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $500 per scope (crops, wild harvest, livestock, processing, and handling).
In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, organic farms and businesses continue to work hard to bring sustainable, healthy food to communities. Yet the FSA’s revision is allocating less money in the face of global challenges.
Oregon Tilth Executive Director Chris Schreiner spoke with the Capital Press about how the math for making the cut doesn’t seem to add up.
Leftover funds are supposed to roll over to the next year, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill. According to a notice in the Federal Register, the program had approximately $4 million in national funding available from previous years to use in 2020.
However, the USDA stated in 2019 that it had $16.4 million in carryover to use for future years. Schreiner said that disparity has left him scratching his head.
“Where did those dollars go? I think that is the question on most people’s minds,” he said. “What’s the accounting here?”Capital Press, August 20, 2020
Tell representatives that cuts to Cost Share hurt organic farms and essential services that need support. Ask for certification funds to be 75 percent, up to a maximum of $750 per scope, per the 2018 Farm Bill.
The reimbursement includes all applicable costs such as application fees, certification fees and inspection costs. Eligible certification scopes include: crops, wild harvest, livestock, processing, and handling. Reimbursements will be made on a first-come, first serve basis until all funds have been disbursed, or the grant period ends.