Organic food processors and producers have until Oct. 31 to apply for reimbursement of costs related to organic certification through the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
These funds provide cost-share rebates to producers or handlers of organic agricultural products who currently are certified or are working toward certification. Funding for the program originated in the 2002 Federal Farm Bill and was renewed in the 2014 and 2018 Federal Farm Bills.
Eligible producers or handlers may receive rebates for 50 percent of their certification costs up to a maximum of $500 per certification category. Due to changes made by USDA, this is a decrease from rebates of 75 percent and $750 in previous years. A total of $586,000 is available to WI processors and producers through the organic cost share reimbursement program. In 2019, under the previous rules, DATCP reimbursed 863 requests totaling $955,000.
Reimbursable costs must be receipted by the certifying agency during the period of Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020, and can include any certification-related expenses such as inspection fees and user fees. Late fees or other penalties or membership fees are not eligible.
Application materials and instructions are available online at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/OrganicFarmingAndFood.aspx.