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Cost Share Makes Organic Certification More Affordable
Minnesota Ag Connection - 09/12/2017

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is now accepting applications for the Minnesota Organic Cost Share Program through October 31, 2017. Minnesota organic farmers and processors can apply for a rebate of up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification.

Certification assures consumers the organic products they buy are produced in accordance with federal organic regulations.

"The yearly cost of certification can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars," said program administrator Cassie Dahl. "This program provides some relief and goes a long way to make organic certification more affordable for Minnesota's farmers."

Organic operations must follow National Organic Standards and are monitored through review of their records and on-site inspections at least once per year.

Funds for the cost share program come from a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA). Operations that received certification (or had ongoing certification) between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017 are eligible for reimbursement of up to 75 percent of certification-related expenses, with a maximum of $750 per category (crop, livestock, processing/handling, or wild harvest). The MDA also offers a similar cost share program for farms transitioning to organic production. To learn more, visit the Minnesota Transition to Organic Program website.

To qualify, applicants must be certified organic by a USDA-accredited certifying agency. The MDA has already mailed application packets to all certified organic operations in the state. Any certified organic farmer or processor who did not receive a packet can obtain all the program details and necessary materials on the MDA's website www.mda.state.mn.us/organic or by calling 651-201-6134. Applicants that do not wish to apply with the MDA may apply through their local USDA-FSA Office.

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