What's next for Organic Cost Share?

Mark Keating's picture

Organic family farmers are facing real hardship due to Congress’ ongoing failure to get its act together. Case in point: When it finally passed the 2013 federal budget in January, Congress stripped funding from a host of essential programs which support small- and medium-sized organic farms. Among the abandoned programs were the $5.5 million which had funded the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) each year since 2009. 

More than 9,400 certified organic farmers and food processors participated in NOCCSP in 2011 and received modest reimbursements – averaging around $650 – towards their certification costs. Organic farmers who both raise and process certified products can receive reimbursements for both sides of their operations. While apparently small enough for Congress to overlook, these reimbursements are real money for the dedicated community of farmers and processors who have built and continue to sustain the organic movement. There is no doubt that many currently certified farmers will opt out of the process if NOCCSP remains unfunded.

The NOCCSP is just one example of Congress’ failure to do the right thing by organic farmers. That same funding bill also eliminated funding for groundbreaking Organic Research and Extension Initiative and the valuable Organic Data Initiative. It is imperative that Congress make good on its commitment to organic agriculture by immediately restoring this funding for this fiscal year! 

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