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Iowa Ag Department helps organic growers get certified

DES MOINES, Iowa (IDALS) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today said that $501,500 in cost share is available through a new program designed to help farmers with organic certification expenses. Farmers are eligible for 75 percent reimbursement of eligible certification expense, limited to $750 per certification scope, which include: crops, wild crops, livestock and processing/handling.

The deadline to apply for the assistance is November 3, 2014.

“There can be significant costs associated with organic certification and this new program is designed to help farmers offset some of that expense,” Northey said. “Organic producers can contact our Department for more information and a copy of the application.”

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-September 30, 2014. Additional funds will be allocated for the subsequent years covered by the Farm Bill.

Application forms can be downloaded from IDALS’ website, or a copy can be obtained by mail by contacting Tammy Stotts at 515-281-7657 or tammy.stotts at iowaagriculture dot gov.

Iowa has approximately 800 certified organic operations and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship certifies about 400 of those farms.

The Organic Certification Cost Share Program is part of the 2014 Farm Bill and 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, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories. Only five states have been awarded more funding than Iowa’s $501,500 allocation.