On Monday, New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced it would help eligible in-state organic producers and handlers get reimbursement of a portion of their organic certification costs under USDA's Organic Certification Cost Share Program. It's part of a nationwide effort to boost organic farming.
If you don't live in New Jersey, contact your state ag department officials for more details. In brief, each qualified operation is eligible for a reimbursement of up to 75% of certification costs not exceeding $750. Certification costs include fees and charges levied by the certifying agent for certification activities.
To qualify, an organic handler or producer must have been inspected and certified or inspected and receiving continuation of certification during the period of October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010. Certification must be through a USDA-accredited certifying agent.
In the event that demand exceeds funds allocated to the state, applications will be processed on a first come, first served basis. In the case of multiple certifications, excluding renewal of certification, only one payment shall be made to the operation.
Applications must be received by the state ag department no later than Monday, September 27, 2010. Applications and more information about the New Jersey program are available online at www.nj.gov/agriculture/grants/organiccostshare.html.