Organic Cost Share Programs
NOCCSP is available to organic producers in all 50 states
Many consumers are seeking out organic options these days, so many producers are working to fill that niche by becoming certified organic through the USDA. This process can be expensive, but there are cost share programs available to help.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers two cost share programs; the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) is available to producers in all 50 states, and the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Organic Certification Cost Share Program is available in 16 states.
These programs provide organic producers and handlers with financial assistance to reduce the cost of organic certification. The program reimburses producers and handlers who are obtaining or renewing their certification for a portion of their paid certification costs. Once certification is obtained, organic producers are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 75 percent of certification costs each year, up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope – crops, livestock, wild crops, handling and State Organic Program fees.
Certified organic producers and handlers who have paid certification fees during the 2017 or 2018 program year may apply for reimbursement of the incurred costs and interested producers can visit one of over 2,000 FSA offices to apply.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offers an Organic Initiative through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Through this program, the NRCS will provide technical and financial assistance to eligible producers for installation of conservation practices on organic or transitioning agricultural land. The assistance provided helps producers plan and implement conservation practices to achieve increased conservation benefits on their operations.
EQIP is primarily used to provide financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices that address soil, water, air, plant, animal and energy resource concerns. Some examples of practices that fall under this initiative include planting cover crops, establishing integrated pest management plans, constructing seasonal high tunnels, or implementing nutrient management systems consistent with organic certification standards. The first step for producers, said Curt McDaniel, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist-Programs, is going to the local USDA field office and providing documentation that they either own or lease the land that the improvements will be made upon. If the producer is deemed eligible for the program, there is a ranking system applied to determine which applicants will receive the funding.