Did you know that less than 1% of all farmland in the United States is certified organic? We’re doing our part to convert more land to organic (which is a 3-year process), but to move the needle materially, a lot more land has to convert to keep up with growing demand for organic food and even fiber.
If you’re reading this, we suspect you agree that more land farmed organically is a positive thing for our food, our farmers, and our planet. We are deeply steeped in all the stuff that’s good about organic farming. (If you want to read more about organic farming’s benefit for soil vitality, read this.)
The USDA seems to know it, too. In addition to being the home of the National Organic Program and our strict Organic Standards, the USDA offers financial assistance to organic farmers (and other producers) to help with the cost of earning or maintaining organic certification. The program is called the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP).
Certified producers and handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent are eligible to receive reimbursement for application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel expenses for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage.
“USDA is here to help all producers, including those who grow our nation’s organic food and fiber. Many farmers have told us that cost was a barrier to their ability to get an organic certification,” said Zach Ducheneaux, administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “By assisting with the costs, this program can help organic farmers get their certification along with the benefits that come with it.”
Do you know someone who might benefit from this program? To learn more about organic certification cost share, please visit the OCCSP webpage, visit usda.gov/organic, or contact your local USDA Service Center. Applications for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) are due Nov. 1, 2021.