WASHINGTON – Organic growers and handlers can now apply for funds from the United States Department of Agriculture to help cover the cost of obtaining or maintaining organic certification. Applications for the organic certification cost-sharing program must be submitted by November 1, 2021.
âThe USDA is here to help all producers, including those who grow our country’s organic food and fiber. Many farmers have told us that cost is a barrier to their ability to achieve organic certification, âsaid Zach Ducheneaux, administrator of the USDA Farm Service Agency. âBy helping to cover costs, this program can help organic farmers gain certification and the benefits that come with it. “
The OCCSP provides cost-shared assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA National Organic Program. Eligible growers include any certified growers or managers who paid an organic certification fee to a USDA accredited certification agent during the year 2021 and any subsequent program years. Producers may be reimbursed for expenses incurred between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, including application fees, inspection fees, fees related to the equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel costs for inspectors, user fees, sales evaluations and postage.
For 2021, the OCCSP will reimburse 50% of the eligible certification costs of a certified operation, up to a maximum of $ 500 for each of the following categories (or âscopesâ):
Treatment / handling
Â· State biological program costs.
Organic farmers and ranchers can apply through an FSA county office or participating state agency.
This funding will be supplemented by an additional $ 20 million for organic and transition producers under the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. More information on this funding will be available in the coming weeks.
To learn more about cost-sharing for organic certification, please visit the OCCSP webpage, visit usda.gov/organic, or contact your local USDA service center.