ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Commissioner Dave Frederickson has signed an agreement with USDA to offer an organic certification cost share program again in 2014.
In August, the MDA will begin accepting applications for this program, which refunds up to 75 percent of the certification costs organic farmers and handlers pay for certification.
“This program provides important regulatory cost relief for organic farmers and handlers who are required by law to hire an accredited certifying agency to verify they are complying with National Organic Standards,” said Frederickson.
MDA Organic Program Administrator Meg Moynihan said farmers in Minnesota pay between $360 and $6,000 for organic certification each year, depending on the size and type of operation and the certifying agency they choose. She said the median cost of certification for organic handlers, which includes food processors, feed mills, brokers, and other related enterprises, was about $2,300 in 2012.
Funding for the Organic Certification Cost Share program was included in the Farm Bill passed by Congress earlier this year. Minnesota’s allocation for 2014 is $541,500.
More information and application materials will be available when MDA opens the program in August. Information about organic practices, certification requirements, and other related topics is available right now at the MDA’s web site: www.mda.state.mn.us/organic.