Cost-Share Program Helps Make Organic Certification Affordable for Farmers and Processors
Columbus, OH — This May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that $369,100 is available through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program to make organic certification more affordable for organic producers and handlers in Ohio. A total of approximately $11.6 million is available to organic operations across the country.
This funding covers as much as 75 percent of an individual applicant’s certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 annually per certification scope. Four scopes of certification are eligible for reimbursement: crops, wild crops, livestock, and handler.
“The organic market is booming, with more and more producers taking advantage of the economic opportunities it presents,” AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer said. “The cost-share program makes it easier for organic businesses throughout the supply chain to get certified, helping them meet growing consumer demand.”
Retail sales of organic products grew to more than $39 billion in the United States in 2014 and more than $75 billion worldwide, according to the USDA.
Since 2011, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has partnered with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) to administer Ohio’s cost-share program.
“The cost-share program is utilized by about 45 percent of Ohio’s nearly 800 organic farmers,” OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland said. “We encourage more organic farmers to take advantage of this opportunity, which can help make becoming — or staying — certified more affordable.”
Reimbursable costs include application fees, certification fees, travel costs for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments, and postage. The program is currently reimbursing for expenses paid between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. Applications for reimbursement must be postmarked by November 15, 2016, although requests are processed monthly.
Organic farmers and processors in Ohio can access the reimbursement application from OEFFA’s website at http://certification.oeffa.org/costshare or by calling (614) 262-2022.
Certified organic producers and handlers outside of Ohio can find the contact information for their administrating agencies at www.ams.usda.gov/NOPCostSharing.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
41 Croswell Rd., Columbus OH 43214
(614) 421-2022 www.oeffa.org