Organic farmers and processors have until Oct. 15 to apply for partial reimbursement of their current year certification costs.
The current Federal Farm Bill provides funding for this program that helps organic farmers and processors with the cost of their organic certification, an annual expense. Funds are distributed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection through a cooperative agreement with the USDA National Organic Program.
Wisconsin's organic farmers and processors are certified by private certification companies that are accredited by the USDA. The cost-share program provides for reimbursement of 75% of their certification costs with a maximum payment of $750 per farm or processor per year. All certified organic farms and handlers are eligible for cost sharing on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications for certification costs incurred Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2009 are being accepted through Oct. 15.
"We are encouraging farmers and processors to send in their applications as soon as possible. We will be working with certifiers to obtain finalized invoices at the end of September," says Laura Paine, coordinator of the program for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "We encourage people to contact us if they don't receive the packet."