Organic producers and handlers will be able to visit a local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.
USDA reimburses organic producers up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification, but only about half of the nation’s organic operations currently participate.
USDA is now providing a uniform, streamlined process for organic producers and handlers to apply for organic cost-share assistance either by mail or in person.
USDA is making changes to increase participation in the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program and the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program.
At the same time, USDA will 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 agricultural resources, and get referrals to local experts including organic agriculture, through USDA’s Bridges to Opportunity service at a local FSA office.
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, fees related to equivalency agreement/arrangement requirements, travel/per diem for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage are all eligible for reimbursement.
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 announcement also adds transitional certification and state organic program fees as additional scopes.
To learn more about organic certification cost share, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/organic or contact a local FSA office.
That’s all for now,