USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is providing approximately $13 million for organic certification cost-share assistance, making certification more accessible for certified producers and handlers.

USDA invites eligible states to submit their applications for federal assistance for organic certification cost-share funds. Once funds have been distributed to the states, organic producers and handlers will apply directly through their state contact.

The certification assistance is distributed through two programs.

• Through the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, $1.4 million is available to organic operations in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

• Through the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, $11.5 million is available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories.

These programs provide cost-share assistance through participating states to USDA-certified organic producers and handlers for certification-related expenses they incur from Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014. Payments will be up to 75% of an individual producer’s certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 per certification. To receive cost-share assistance, organic producers and handlers should contact their state agencies. Procedures for applying are outlined in the cost share policies and procedures at the NOP Cost Share Website

Eligible states interested in obtaining cost-share funds must submit an application for federal assistance and sign a grant agreement via by June 20, 2014.