HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania farmers and processors seeking organic certification can receive financial assistance through the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) and the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Organic Certification Cost Program. The deadline to apply is November 16.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture secured $189,000 in federal funds through NOCCSP and $149,000 through AMA to reimburse farmers and handling facilities for expenses related to organic certification. Amounts are awarded to states based on their number of certified organic operations.
“Pennsylvania has grown phenomenally in organic sales, doubling from 2015 to 2016 alone, and we are now second in the nation in organic production,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “We are not a leader by accident, but because of public and private investment in taking a strategic approach to industry growth. These funds support that forward-thinking innovation by those seeking to grow and sustain their businesses, respond to consumer trends, and diversify their operations.”
Under the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Organic Program sets the standards for producers to receive organic certification in livestock, crops, and wild crops. Cost share programs allow eligible farmers and processors to be reimbursed up to 75 percent or $750, whichever is less, for the cost of obtaining organic certification in each category.
From 2015 through 2017, Pennsylvania reimbursed 1,258 agriculture operations a total of $1,068,730 to defray the cost of organic certification. In September 2018, Governor Wolf also announced $5 million in grants available to dairy producers transitioning to organic, as part of the Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program.
Applications for the Organic Cost Share program and other programs to support sustainable farming can be found at pagrows.pa.gov under “Grants”. Or call 1-888-PA-GROWS for more information.
Learn more about Pennsylvania’s strategies and investments in growing the agriculture and food industry at agriculture.pa.gov.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
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