USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that they are reducing reimbursement rates for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program. Congress set the current reimbursement rates in the 2018 Farm Bill at 75 percent of the certified organic operation’s eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $750 per scope. FSA plans to lower the rate to 50 percent of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $500 per scope. This reduction comes in the middle of a global crisis, at a time when it is critical to support our organic farms as essential to our recovery.
- The Organic Certification Cost Share Program is an important tool to help organic farmers stay in business. Organic businesses need this support now more than ever because of the lost markets and increased costs to keep workers and customers safe during the pandemic.
- Congress established reimbursement rates in the 2018 Farm Bill. It is unacceptable for FSA to disregard Congressional funding directives.
- It is vital that FSA reinstate the full organic certification cost share reimbursement.
We encourage our members to apply for cost share assistance as soon as they are able to do so with their state agency or local FSA office. Operations have until October 31, 2020 to apply for funding.
In California, CDFA administers Organic Certification Cost Share. Californian organic producers who have already submitted their applications for cost share funds will be contacted by CDFA with an updated application. For questions regarding your submitted application, email CDFA.ISD_Cost_Share_Program@cdfa.ca.gov or call (916) 900-5202.
In other states, contact your state's department of agriculture to ask about application procedures and deadlines in your state.