Starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices around the country to apply for cost-share programs that help offset the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.

USDA is making these changes to encourage increased participation in the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program, while also providing more opportunities for organic producers to access the full range of USDA programs, such as disaster protection and loans for farms, facilities, and marketing.

In the past, state departments of agriculture administered the cost-share programs.  States that still want to administer the program will have the opportunity to do so, so check with your certifier to see if your state will continue to administer the program.

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.  Transitional certification and state organic program fees are being added as additional scopes.

The OCCSP NOFA is now available in the Federal Register online reading room at:  https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-30772.pdf.

The official version of the document will be available12/22/16 at:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/22/2016-30772/funds-availability-organic-certification-cost-share-program.

For more information about the organic certification cost share program, please visit www.fsa.usda.gov/organic.  If you have specific questions about the program, please contact Rita Meade, Rita.Meade@ams.usda.gov, and Jennifer Fiser, Jennifer.Fiser@wdc.usda.gov.