For the first time since 2005, cost-share funds for organic certification are available in Wisconsin. The 2008 Federal Farm Bill provides five years of funding for this popular program that helps organic farmers and processors pay for their organic certification.
Application materials have been mailed out to over 1200 farmers and handlers that are currently certified. They’re also available on-line at http://www.datcp.state.wi.us/ (search for “organic cost-share” or may be requested from Laura Paine, Organic Agriculture Specialist at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, at 608-224-5120.
With more than 1,200 certified organic farms and processors, Wisconsin is second only to California. Certification is an annual cost that can range from $500 to several thousand dollars. The only exemption is for farms earning less than $5,000 per year. The program provides for a 75% cost-share of certification costs with a maximum payment of $750 per farm or processor. Wisconsin has been allocated approximately $256,000 per year for the first two years of the program.
All certified organic farms and handlers are eligible for cost sharing on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications for 2008 growing season certifications are being accepted through March 31.