organic foods

Organic Assistance Programs Accepting Applications

Brian GermanFunding, Organic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking applications for two organic assistance programs. Certified organic producers and handlers, along with those transitioning to organic production, have two assistance opportunities available. USDA’s Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) and Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) both help to cover costs related to organic production. Producers and handlers will have until October 31 to submit applications for both programs.

Organic Assistance Programs

“This year, in response to stakeholder feedback, we have aligned the signup dates for these two organic programs and encourage producers to work with the local USDA Service Centers and State agencies to complete the applications,” Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux said in a press release. “The FSA, and the USDA broadly, are committed to making sure our Nation’s organic producers and handlers have the tools they need to continue positively shaping our local and regional food systems.”

Both OTECP and OCCSP cover costs incurred from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022, with producers allowed to receive cost share benefits through both organic assistance programs. OTECP will help cover the costs of soil testing, registration fees for educational events, and certification costs. Certain expenses for transitional producers will also be covered, including pre-certification inspection fees and system development plans. OCCSP will cover 50 percent or as much as $500 per category of certification costs in 2022.

“By helping with organic certification costs – long identified as a barrier to certification – USDA has helped producers participate in new markets while investing in the long-term health of their operations,” Ducheneaux explained. “We launched the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program to build on the support offered through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program and provide additional assistance to organic and transitioning producers weathering the continued market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

About the Author

Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West