State Organic Program Fees to be Eligible for Cost Share Reimbursement

On December 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that certified organic producers will be able to apply for reimbursement of State Organic Program (SOP) fees as an additional scope of certification through the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (Cost Share).

SOP fees are an additional cost of certification for organic producers operating in the state of California, where producers must pay SOP fees to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in addition to paying fees to their accredited certifying agent. In 2016, CCOF worked with the Organic Trade Association (OTA) to make that the case that SOP fees warrant eligibility for Cost Share. Now, producers in any state that establishes an SOP will be able to apply for reimbursement of SOP fees.

USDA also announced that transitional certification fees will be eligible as scope of certification for Cost Share, which will help expand the reach of the program to new organic producers and to producers expanding their organic production.

Eligible producers may apply annually for reimbursement for up to 75 percent of certification costs each year, up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope. Scopes now include crops, livestock, wild crops, handling, SOP fees, and transitional certification fees.

CCOF applauds the USDA for recognizing the full costs of certification and ensuring that Cost Share is an effective program for organic producers throughout the nation. Learn more about Cost Share or contact a local FSA office.

Learn more about CCOF’s work to address its members’ longstanding concerns about SOP fees and registration requirements.