Monday, May 10, 2010

USDA-NOP Organic Certification Cost Share Program

On October 31, 2002 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the creation of the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill. This program, funded with a total of $5 million in federal monies, allocates the monies to state organic programs in proportion to the number of organic producers and handlers within each state. The state organic programs, in turn, reimburse each eligible producer or handler for up to 75% of their certification costs, not to exceed $750.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) signed a cooperative agreement with USDA-National Organic Program on December 16, 2002 to implement the certification cost-share program. Under the cooperative agreement, MDA has agreed to review applications from certified Missouri organic producers (crop, wild crop or livestock) and handlers of agricultural products who obtained certification under the National Organic Program (NOP) and disperse the available funds to qualified applicants. Payments to eligible producers and handlers will be limited to 75% of individual certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 per application. Applications for cost share funds will be reimbursed in the order they are received until funds are exhausted or the eligibility period ends, whichever comes first. A complete request for cost-share funds must include the following items:

1.  Copy of Current Certificate of Organic Operation
2.  Copy of Itemized Invoices, showing fees assessed for certification
3.  Organic Certification Cost Share Program Application
4.  Vendor Input Form Application

Organic Certification Cost-Share Program FAQ

The following questions and answers should be helpful in your application process.

1.  To qualify, does my farm or company have to be located in Missouri? Yes.
2.  What kind of costs will the program reimburse? Application, inspection and certification costs - but not late fees.
3.  How does MDA determine my eligibility? You must send a copy of your current organic certificate. It must have been issued during the eligible period Oct. 1, 2009 through Sept. 20, 2010.
4.  How much am I eligible for? Payments to eligible producers and handlers will be limited to 75% of an individual producer’s or handler’s certification costs up to a maximum of $750.
5.  How do I apply? You must submit four items:
    A.  Complete application form
    B.  A copy of a current organic certificate
    C.  Complete Vendor Input form
    D.  A copy of itemized invoice(s) from your USDA-NOP accredited certifier
6.  Does certification from any certifying agency count? You must have received organic certification from a USDA-NOP accredited certifying agency. If you have questions about the accreditation status of your certifier, call your certifier or check the NOP web site for more information.
7.  What if I am certified as a producer and a handler? If you have different kinds of certification (producer - crop, wild crop and livestock or handler), you qualify for more than one cost-share payment. You must submit separate and complete applications (including certificate copies and copies of the receipt with each application). It is suggested that you mail the applications in separate envelopes.
8.  When is the application due? Since funds are limited, we will process applications in the order they are received and payments will be issued on a first come, first served basis. The program will continue until all funds are exhausted or the eligibility period ends.
9.  What about privacy? Under state law, if requested, we must provide demographic information including your name and address. We do not release social security numbers or payment amounts.
10.  Will this program continue in the future? Missouri expects to exhaust the federal and state cost-share funds after this year. Whether the program continues or not will depend on the actions of the U.S. Congress and the state legislators.

Mail applications to:  Missouri Department of Agriculture, Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, P.O. Box 630, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0630

For Questions Contact: Organic Crops, Bart Hawcroft, (573) 526-6666,

No comments:

Post a Comment