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USDA Accepting Applications to Help Cover Costs of Organic Producers
Nebraska Ag Connection - 05/22/2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will cover up to 75% of the costs associated with organic certification, up to $750 per category, through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Illinois Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages organic agricultural producers and handlers to apply for OCCSP by October. 31, 2023, for expenses incurred from October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023.

As part of USDA’s broader effort to support organic producers and in response to stakeholder feedback, this year FSA increased the cost share to the maximum amount allowed by statute.

“We’re taking steps to better support Illinois organic producers,” said Scott Halpin, State Executive Director for FSA in Illinois, “We’ve heard about this program’s value in helping Illinois organic producers and handlers obtain or renew their certifications under the National Organic Program, and I’m pleased that we’re able to increase and restore the cost share to the statutory limit this year. Organic certification costs have long been identified as a barrier to certification, and this assistance, at its full levels, will help Illinois organic producers participate in new markets while supporting and growing our local and regional food systems.”

Cost Share for 2023

The cost share provides financial assistance for organic certification, and producers and handlers are eligible to receive 75% of the costs, up to $750, for crops, wild crops, livestock, processing/handling and state organic program fees (California only).

Illinois producers have until October 31, 2023, to file applications, and FSA will make payments as applications are received.

How to Apply

To apply, Illinois producers and handlers should contact their local FSA office USDA Service Center. As part of completing the OCCSP application, producers and handlers will need to provide documentation of their organic certification and eligible expenses.

Organic producers and handlers may also apply for OCCSP through participating state departments of agriculture. Additional details can be found on the OCCSP webpage.


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