There can be significant costs associated with becoming a certified organic grower. "A new cost-share program we have in Iowa is designed to help farmers offset some of that expense," says Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.
The deadline to apply is Nov. 3, if you want to participate in this cost-sharing program. Iowa has approximately 800 certified organic operations, and the state ag agency certifies about 400 of those farms. Becoming certified, Northey says, has definite advantages.
In total Iowa has about $501,500 in assistance available through this new program designed to help farmers with organic certification expenses. Farmers are eligible for 75% reimbursement of eligible certification expense, limited to $750 per certification scope, which includes crops, wild crops, livestock and processing/handling.
Deadline to apply for the assistance is Nov. 3, 2014
"Organic producers can contact our department for more information and a copy of the application," he says.
Organic operations must be in good standing and possess a current USDA organic certificate to be eligible to receive reimbursements. Applicants are eligible for 75% reimbursement of eligible certification-related costs paid between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014. Additional funds will be allocated for the subsequent years covered by the Farm Bill.
Application forms can be downloaded from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship website. If you are unable to download the forms, a copy can be mailed to you by contacting Tammy Stotts at 515-281-7657 or [email protected]. For more information about Iowa's organic agriculture program go to www.iowaagriculture.gov.
Iowa has approximately 800 certified organic farming operations
The Organic Certification Cost Share Program is a USDA program that's part of the 2014 Farm Bill. It is intended to assist organic producers and handlers by offsetting costs associated with organic certification. Through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, $11.5 million is available to all 50 states, District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Only five states have been awarded more funding than Iowa's $501,500 allocation.