USDA Increases Funding for Organic Cost Share Program
The USDA has increased funding for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). This means that organic producers and handlers can now receive up to 75% of their certification costs reimbursed, up to $750 per scope of certification.
This is a $250 increase from the previous two years, and it restores the assistance to pre-2020 levels. Operations certified to multiple scopes (crops, wild crops, livestock, handling) may receive reimbursement for 75% or $750 per scope.
To be eligible for the USDA’s Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP), producers and handlers must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent and must have paid their certification fees during the program year. The 2023 program year runs from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023. The program is also only available to operations located in the United States.
Ready to Apply?
To apply for the OCCSP, contact FSA at your local USDA Service Center. You will need to complete a one-page form (and possibly a W-9 tax form for participating state agencies.) You will also need to have a copy of your current organic certificate (may be the one issued for the previous year’s certification cycle) and documentation of your eligible expenses (such as a paid invoice).
If you are a new client, this means you need to have been granted certification by September 30, 2023. You may want to communicate your intent to apply for organic cost share to your certifier early in your certification process so they can help you meet these deadlines.
FSA offices are accepting applications for OCCSP as of today, May 15, 2023 through October 31, 2023. However, OCCSP funds are limited, and applications are paid on a first-come, first serve basis; so don’t procrastinate!
We encourage all certified operations to apply for the OCCSP. This program can help you offset the cost of certification and make it more affordable to produce organic products. It is also important that the industry uses the funds available to ensure future funding!