Federal assistance for organic certification is open, but there is a decrease in funding caps for this season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the application period for its Organic Certification Cost Share Program. The program helps producers either become certified or maintain certification under the National Organic Program.
There is a significant change to available funds this season. Funding per applicant is capped at 50 percent and up to $500 per applicant. The Farm Service Agency administers the program and states the change will allow for a more significant number of certified organic operations to receive assistance. FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said they are expecting a record number of participants this year, which led to the change. More funding may be allocated at a later point, in which the agency said they could increase the funding caps to 75 percent of the certification costs and up to $750 per applicant.
Operations that paid certification expenses between October 1, 2019, and September 30 of this year, can submit applications and due at the end of October. The funds can assist growers and handlers for a variety of costs related to the process. USDA said eligible expenses for cost-share reimbursement include application fees, inspection costs, fees associated with equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel expenses for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments, and even postage. The department also noted the expenses have to be with a USDA-accredited certifying agent. To find out more about the program and apply, visit the program’s webpage by searching ‘Organic Certification Cost Share Program.’
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