Organic farmers and processors are invited to apply for certification cost-share funds for federal fiscal year 2009 (Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30). The current Federal Farm Bill provides funding for this popular 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 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 the period of Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2009 are being accepted through Oct. 15, 2009.
"Application materials have been mailed out to over 1200 farmers and handlers on our list," said Laura Paine, coordinator of the program for DATCP. "We've worked with certifiers to keep our list current, but we encourage people to contact us if they don't receive the packet." Application materials are available on-line at www.datcp.state.wi.us (search for "organic cost-share") or may be requested from Paine at 608-224-5120 or via email at [email protected].