The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA, Washington, D.C.) announced that approximately $13 million in Farm Bill funding is now available for organic certification cost share assistance, making the process more accessible for small certified producers and handlers.
Tom Vilsack, secretary, USDA, said consumer demand for organic products is surging across the country.
“To meet this demand, we need to make sure that small farmers who choose to grow organic products can afford to get certified. Organic food is now a multi-billon dollar industry, and helping this sector continue to grow creates jobs across the country,” said Vilsack.
The funding announcement for organic certification cost-share assistance was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which has been built on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers, according to the USDA.
Since the enactment, the USDA purports that they have taken action in many ways including enforcing critical legislation, expanding access to rural credit and developing new markets for rural-made products to name a few.
Two Agricultural Marketing Service programs, the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program and the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, together will fund a total of $13 million throughout several states across the U.S. These programs provide cost-share assistance through participating states to USDA-certified organic producers and handlers for certification-related expenses they incur from October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014, reported the USDA, adding payments cover up to 75 percent of an individual producer’s or handler’s certification costs and up to a maximum of $750 per certification.
The USDA reported in 2012 alone that it issued close to 10,000 cost-share reimbursements totaling over $6.5 million to support the organic industry and rural America.
For more information on the Farm Bill, visit www.usda.gov.