Funds to help pay transitioning and certified organic farms’ costs associated with organic certification are available from two USDA programs – both with signup deadlines at the end of October.
The Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) provides cost share assistance to producers who are obtaining or renewing organic certification. It covers up to 50% of certification costs, with a $500 cap, per year.
The Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) was created more recently, as part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers program. OTECP covers a wider range of expenses, including:
- certification costs (25%, maximum $250)
- for transitioning producers, fees for pre-certification inspections and development of an organic system plan, as well as other eligible expenses (75%, maximum $750)
- registration fees for educational events, such as workshops and conferences (75%, maximum $200)
- soil testing (75%, maximum $100)
Applications to both OCCSP and OTECP are due by October 31, 2022. (OCCSP funds are awarded first-come, first-serve, so there is a strong incentive to apply early.) Applications to both programs are made through the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office.
More information is available on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s blog.