FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(May 17, 2022) – Certified organic and transitioning to organic agricultural producers and handlers can now apply for the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) and the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). These United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs help producers and handlers cover organic certification cost and other related expenses. Applications are open now and due October 31, 2022.
The two USDA programs cover costs incurred from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022. Organic and transitioning agricultural producers should contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and/or participating State agency to apply. “The FSA, and the USDA broadly, are committed to making sure our Nation’s organic producers and handlers have the tools they need to continue positively shaping our local and regional food systems,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux.
According to OFRF’s 2022 National Organic Research Agenda (NORA) report, cost of organic certification ranked third as a top non-production challenges among more than 1,100 organic producers surveyed. “By helping with organic certification costs – long identified as a barrier to certification – USDA has helped producers participate in new markets while investing in the long-term health of their operations,” said Ducheneaux.
The Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program and the Organic Certification Cost Share Program are important to many organic and transitioning producers. OFRF has put significant effort into advocacy to ensure funding for these programs, such as championing organic provisions included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Most recently, OFRF and allied organizations authored a group letter of support to extend last year’s OTECP application due date which was successfully implemented.
“If someone is considering getting certified, they should definitely look into the program as it can reduce some of the financial burden,” says organic farmer and OFRF Board Chair Bryan Hager. Hager has previously participated in the cost share program to certify his farm, Crager Hager Farm.
About Organic Farming Research Foundation
Organic Farming Research Foundation works to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming systems. OFRF cultivates organic research, education, and federal policies that bring more farmers and acreage into organic production.
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