The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) said organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP).

Applications for eligible certification expenses paid between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020 are due Oct. 31, 2020.

“For producers producing food with organic certification, this program helps cover a portion of those certification costs,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said in a statement on Monday, Aug. 10.

He said participants should contact their local FSA county office to learn more about this program and other valuable USDA resources, like farm loans and conservation assistance, that can help them succeed.

OCCSP provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA’s National Organic Program.

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Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent, the agency said in a news release. Eligible expenses for cost-share reimbursement include application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel expenses for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage.

Due to expected participation levels and the limited funds available, FSA revised the reimbursement amount available through fiscal year 2023.

To learn more, including the application process, visit this USDA webpage.