USDA

New cost share opportunities will soon be available for organic producers and handlers. Starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to go to their local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Office to apply for federal reimbursements to help assist with the cost of organic food production.

KMZU’s Sara Miles was able to talk to Rebecca Walker, the Carroll County Farm Service Agency Executive Director about the use of this program in our area.

Even though organic farming is not extremely prevalent in our area, Walker expects that this program could possible bring more interest to mid-Missouri.

The USDA have decided to make 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 and at the same time provide more opportunities for organic producers to access a full range of USDA programs.

Eligible expenses include application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement/arrangement requirements, travel for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage. 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.

In a press release, FSA Administrator Val Dolcini stated, “USDA is committed to helping the organic sector grow and thrive through a wide variety of programs, and part of that commitment is making it easy for stakeholders to access our services. That’s why, starting March 20th, producers will be able to visit their local FSA office to access organic certification cost-share reimbursements for up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification.”

Dolcini thinks that this change will create a more streamlined process nationwide as well as help the producers become more familiar with other services that the USDA has to offer.

To learn more about organic certification cost share, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/organic or contact your local FSA office by visiting http://offices.usda.gov.