The USDA’s Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) is again offering rebates for certification expenses to eligible organic producers and handlers.
To qualify, applicants must be certified organic by a USDA-accredited certifying agency; by MCIA, for example. Operations that received certification (or had ongoing certification) between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, are eligible for reimbursement of up to 50 percent of certification-related expenses. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) administers the program in Minnesota and has already mailed application packets to all certified organic operations in the state.
The maximum rebate available is $500 per category (crop, livestock, processing/handling, wild harvest). The MDA also offers a similar cost share program for operations transitioning to organic. In Minnesota, producers and handlers may apply for cost share assistance through the MDA, here. In Wisconsin, apply to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, here. Organic operations that are certified by MCIA and that are located in other states, should apply through their local Farm Service Agency (FSA).
“The yearly cost of certification can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars,” MDA Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey said. “This program provides some relief and goes a long way to make organic certification more affordable.” The Organic Certification Cost Share Program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.