Jul 31, 2017
Organic New Jersey growers get help with certification fees

Jersey Fresh organic produce is pictured in this file photo from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.

Organic produce growers and handlers in New Jersey could qualify for government help with their certification fees, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced July 31.

The program is a state partnership with the federal government to reduce organic certification costs as part of the governor’s ongoing efforts to promote New Jersey-grown and marketed organic food products. The department is now accepting applications for the program.

Through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Certification Cost Share Program, each qualified producer or handler of organic products is eligible for a reimbursement of up to 75 percent of its costs of certification, not to exceed $750.  Certification costs include fees and charges levied by the certifying agent for certification activities.

To qualify for reimbursement under this program, an organic producer or handler must have been certified or incurred expenses for the continuation of certification during the period of October 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017.  Certification must be through a USDA-accredited certifying agent.

In the event that demand exceeds federal funds allocated to New Jersey, applications will be processed on a first come, first serve basis.  Operations may receive one reimbursement per certification or category of certification per year.

Applications must be received by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture no later than November 17, 2017. Applications and more information about the program are available online.

Organic producers and handlers can also visit their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices to apply for federal reimbursement.  Operations may apply through only one agency.  Duplicate reimbursements will not be issued to an operation.

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