By Heather Barnes, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Organic growers in North Carolina may apply for partial reimbursement of the cost of becoming certified or for recertification through a program offered by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS).
Growers who are certified or re-certified between October 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017, may apply for assistance through the program.
Said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler:
“Applicants can be reimbursed up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification per category. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and I would encourage growers and handlers to submit their applications early.”
Under the grant, operations can be certified and reimbursed in four separate categories: crops, livestock, wild crop and handler/processor. The maximum reimbursement per category is $750.
The program is for the 2016-2017 season and is funded through a $229,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Applications must be postmarked by October 6, 2017.
To apply, growers must provide a completed application, along with detailed invoices/statements from the certifying agency listing all National Organic Program certified costs, proof of payment, an IRS W-9 form and a copy of your certificate or letter from your certifier if this is a new certification. All charges must be for USDA organic certification. The application can be downloaded at www.ncdaorganic.org., or growers can also apply through their local Farm Service Agency office.
Application and required documents can be mailed, faxed to 919.715.0155, or emailed to the NCDA&CS Organic Certification Cost Share Program, Attn. Heather Barnes. For questions, contact Barnes at 919.707.3127.