For many growers, the annual costs associated with certification can be a major deterrent. However, financial assistance is available through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program to cover up to 75% of certification costs up to $750. This federal program is administered by each state’s Department of Agriculture, is non-competitive and offered on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted. Fill out the paperwork and get reimbursed!
It is important to note that your farm becomes eligible for reimbursement only AFTER you have successfully become certified by a USDA accredited certifying agency. Allowable expenses include application fees, inspection costs, first-time USDA NOP certification fees, travel costs/per diem for organic inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage. Late fees, inspection due to violation of NOP regulation, materials and supplies, equipment and transitional certifications are not eligible. All charges must be for USDA organic certification.
Reimbursement includes all documented National Organic Program (NOP) certification costs incurred between October 1 and September 30 of the previous year (for example, October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016). For each year that you seek reimbursement, you must turn in an application along with a W-9 Form, detailed invoices/statements from your certifier listing all NOP certification costs INCURRED and PAID, and a copy of your certificate from your certifier.
NC farmers can click here to NC download the NC cost share application for Oct. 1 2015-Sept. 30, 2016 (with a helpful FAQ page)
SC farmers can click here download the SC application PDF
Contact information for each state’s Organic Certification Cost Share Program administrator is listed below if you have additional questions:
Once you have all your necessary paperwork together, you can send the materials to the following addresses:
Heather Barnes, Marketing Specialist
North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services
1020 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-1020
SC Dept of Agriculture
Wade Hampton Office Building, 5th Floor
1200 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29201