By Barbara Patterson, government relations representative, National Farmers Union

4colorsealGIFNational Farmers Union (NFU) recognizes the increasing importance of organic family farming. While the organic market continues to grow, NFU will advocate ensuring accreditation and certification costs do not discriminate against small producers. One way to assist small organic producers to support their continued viability is through cost share programs.

Earlier today, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service announced $11.9 million in organic certification assistance available. This assistance helps make transition to organic agriculture more affordable. The funding is made available through two programs that were authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill and included in NFU’s list of Farm Bill priorities– the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program (AMA).

The AMA program is available for crop and livestock producers in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. For producers in the aforementioned states, both the AMA program and the NOCCSP are available.

Organic farmers may receive up to 75 percent of their certification costs paid from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015. The maximum cost share amount is $750.

Interested producers should contact their state agencies. In order to apply, organic producers should complete the state agency application (if required by the state), a W-9 tax form, and supporting documentation including proof of USDA organic certification and itemized invoice showing certification expenses paid.

More information is available here.

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