Jessica A. Chittenden|
February 03, 2009
State to Reimburse Up to 75 Percent of Organic Certification Costs
Organic Producers and Processors Encouraged to Apply for Reimbursement
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the renewal of the State’s Organic Certification Reimbursement Program, which reimburses certified organic producers and processors for a portion of their annual organic certification costs.
"Organic is a growing trend within agriculture with real market demands and opportunities for producers," the Commissioner said. "This program has helped farmers and processors afford organic certification and served as an incentive for farmers and processors to obtain certification. We appreciate the funding provided by USDA to offer this program and hope that even during these tough economic times, this program will encourage organic producers and processors to continue to be certified, which will add value to their product and enhance the bottom line of their business."
Since 2001, the Department has offered reimbursements to certified organic producers as part of the National Organic Cost Share Program. Funded annually by USDA, this year New York will receive $450,000 in federal funds to provide reimbursement for organic certification for New York’s organic farmers for the period October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.
For the first time since 2005, New York will also receive funds from USDA to provide reimbursement for organic processors and handlers for two certification periods: October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008 and October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.
Under New York’s Organic Certification Reimbursement Program, eligible farmers and processors can be reimbursed 75 percent, up to a maximum of $750, for initial certification or certification renewal costs with third party certifying organizations.
Interested producers and processors must complete the appropriate Organic Certification Reimbursement Program application form and submit it to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets in order to be considered for reimbursement. Funding is distributed to eligible applicants on a first come, first served basis. The application forms can be obtained by contacting the Department at 518-485-0048 or at http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/organic/.
The application must include a copy of the organic certification or renewal certificate from a USDA approved certifying agency, along with proof of payment. A list of certifying agencies can also be found on the Department’s website at http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/organic/.
In New York State, there are approximately 750 certified organic farmers and producers and approximately 200 certified organic processors and handlers. Currently, three-quarters of certified farmers in New York State participate in the reimbursement program, which is one of the highest rates of participation in the country.
For the last program period, which ended September 30, 2008, reimbursements totaled $248,900 for the 540 farmer applicants who qualified to participate. The average reimbursement was $461 per farm.
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