New Cost-Share Opportunities Available

As reported on WallacesFarmer:

USDA says organic producers and handlers can visit Farm Service Agency offices starting March 20, 2017 to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.

USDA is making changes to increase participation in the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program, and at the same time provide more opportunities for organic producers to access other USDA programs, such as disaster protection and loans for farms, facilities and marketing. Producers can also access information on nonfederal ag resources, and get referrals to local experts, including organic agriculture, through USDA’s Bridges to Opportunity service at the local FSA office.

Historically, many state departments of agriculture have obtained grants to disburse reimbursements to those farmers and handlers qualifying for cost-share assistance. FSA will continue to partner with states to administer the programs. For states wanting continue to directly administer the programs, applications are due Feb. 17.

Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic or transitional certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Application fees, inspection costs and other fees, as well as postage, are all eligible for a cost-share reimbursement from USDA.

Once certified, producers and handlers are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 75 percent of certification costs each year up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope: crops, livestock, wild crops and handling. This recent USDA announcement also adds transitional certification and state organic program fees as additional scopes.

To learn more about organic certification cost share, visit fsa.usda.gov/organic or contact a local FSA office by visiting offices.usda.gov.

To learn more about USDA support for organic agriculture, visit usda.gov/organic.