The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that organic producers and handlers can apply for USDA funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP).
Applications for eligible certification expenses paid between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, are due Nov. 1, 2021.
OCCSP provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA’s National Organic Program. Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Producers can be reimbursed for expenses including application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel expenses for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage.
For 2021, OCCSP will reimburse 50 percent of a certified operation’s allowable certification costs, up to a maximum of $500 for each of the following categories or “scopes:”
- wild crops
- State organic program fees.
Organic farmers and ranchers may apply through an FSA county office or a participating state agency.