Organic Certification Cost Share Program
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has funds available for the 2020 National Organic Certification Cost Share Program through funds provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. The program will provide cost share assistance to organic producers and handlers receiving certification or continuation of certification by a USDA accredited certifying agency starting October 1, 2020, and ending September 30, 2021. Under the Act, cost share assistance payments are limited to 50 percent of an individual producer's or handler's certification costs, with a maximum of $500 per certification or category of certification per year. The National Organic Program (NOP) currently recognizes four categories of certification: crops, wild crops, livestock and processing/handling. Operations may receive one reimbursement per certificate or category of certification per year. Each certificate may be reimbursed separately. Likewise, each category of certification may be reimbursed separately. For a sample list of allowable and unallowable expenses on reimbursement applications, see Chart of Allowable and Unallowable Costs.
To be eligible for reimbursement in the current fiscal year, applicants must successfully receive their first organic certification or have incurred expenses related to the renewal of certification by a USDA accredited certifying agency between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. The organic production or handling operation must be located within Missouri, comply with the USDA National Organic Program regulations for organic production or handling and have received certification or continuation of certification by a USDA-accredited certifying agency between the eligible dates.
One year of certification reimbursement is available from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021.
The National Organic Certification Cost Share program (NOCCSP) is authorized under section 10606(d)(1) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 7901 note), as amended by section 10004(c) of the Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill; Pub. L. 113–79) and Section 10105 of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill, Pub. L. 115-334). Under this authority, Congress authorizes USDA to provide organic certification cost share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products who are obtaining certification under the National Organic Program. These producers and handlers may be located within the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
FSA administers the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) using relevant sections of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and the Uniform Grant Guidance, 2 CFR 200. FSA awards OCCSP funds to eligible State Agencies, which operate as a pass-through system, by accepting and approving applications from producers and handlers so that State Agencies can issue reimbursements to organic operations.
Program Participants: Organic Operations
To receive cost share assistance from their respective state departments, eligible organic operations must apply to their participating state department to receive cost share payments. Eligible operations must apply to the participating state agency in which they are located to receive cost share reimbursements. Entities operating in more than one state should apply in the state where their federal taxes are filed. These entities may only apply for reimbursements once per certificate or certification category per year, as verified by certification documentation. The applicable National Organic Program (NOP) regulations are available on the NOP website at www.ams.usda.gov/nop. In order to be eligible for reimbursement in the current federal fiscal year, applicants must have received their certification or have incurred expenses related to the renewal of certification by a USDA accredited certifying agent between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.
Payments are limited to 50 percent of an individual producer's or handler's certification costs up to a maximum of $500 per certification or category of certification per year. The NOP currently recognizes four categories of certification: crops, wild crops, livestock and processing/handling. Operations may receive one reimbursement per certificate or category of certification per year. Each certificate may be reimbursed separately. Likewise, each category of certification may be reimbursed separately. No other direct costs are permitted. For a sample list of allowable and unallowable expenses on reimbursement applications, see Chart of Allowable and Unallowable Costs.
Chart of Allowable and Unallowable Costs
Below is a list with a sample of costs which may be reimbursed, as well as those which are ineligible. This list is meant to be demonstrative, not exhaustive. Questions about allowable costs should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Application fees
- Inspection fees, including travel costs and per diem for organic inspectors
- Certification costs, including fees necessary to access international markets with which AMS has equivalency agreements or arrangements
- User fees/sale assessments
- Inspections due to violations of USDA Organic regulations
- Charges related to non-USDA organic certifications
- Transitional certifications
- Other labeling programs
- Materials, supplies, & equipment
- Late fees
- Membership fees
- Consultant fees
Applications will be accepted through November 1, 2021.
Based on the receipt of the completed application packet by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, reimbursements will be on a first-come, first-served basis until the limited program funds are exhausted.
First-Time Applicants/Newly Certified Operations and Renewal Applicants
Once an operation receives proof of USDA organic certification from an accredited certifying agency the applicant may apply for reimbursement to the state agency. Reimbursements may not be processed until the applicant is granted certification. For operations that maintain organic certification, the applicant must submit a request for reimbursement to their state agency after they incur expenses. Only allowable expenses incurred within the eligible federal fiscal year (10/1/20 to 9/30/21) can be reimbursed. Applicants should keep records of all invoices and payments for certification-related expenses.
The following documents are required:
- An organic certificate with a date, certification number and name of the certifier;
- Completed and signed application
- An itemized paid invoice detailing allowable certification costs (refer to Allowable and Unallowable Costs) incurred between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021 and;
- A completed Vendor Input Form
State agencies may verify organic certification through a variety of methods including a copy of an organic certificate and/or verifiable communication from a USDA-accredited certifying agent. The verification document(s) must clearly identify that the certification (and associated allowable expenses) occurred between the dates of October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. National Organic Program website: www.ams.usda.gov/nop/.
For more information contact:
Missouri Department of Agriculture
Organic Certification Cost Share Program
PO Box 630 - Jefferson City, MO 65102-0630
Finding Certifying Agents
Any accredited certifying agency can certify farms in any state, as long as they have the appropriate business licenses for that state. A listing of all of the accredited organic certifiers in the country can be found through the USDA Organic Marketing Service. It should be noted that all of the agencies are listed by the state of their home office, not the states they are working in.
The following agencies have certified entities in Missouri in 2020/2021 according to the USDA Directory.
Agricultural Services Certified Organic (ASCO)
Baystate Organic Certifiers (BOC)
CCOF Certification Services, LLC (CCOF)
Ecocert ICO, LLC (ICO)
Global Organic Alliance, Inc (GOA)
International Certification Services, Inc (ICS)
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)
502 East 9th St.
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Contact: Maury Wills