USDA Launches Program to Cover Organics Certification for Farmers

The USDA recently launched a program to cover up to 75% or $750 toward organic agricultural producer certifications. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will cover up to 75% of the costs associated with organic certification, up to $750 per category, through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Maryland Farm Service Agency (FSA) encourages organic agricultural producers and handlers to apply for OCCSP by Oct. 31, 2023, for expenses incurred from Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023.

As part of USDA’s broader effort to support organic producers and in response to stakeholder feedback, this year FSA increased the cost share to the maximum amount allowed by statute.

Cost Share for 2023

The cost share provides financial assistance for organic certification, and producers and handlers are eligible to receive 75% of the costs, up to $750, for crops, wild crops, livestock, processing/handling and state organic program fees (California only).

Maryland producers have until Oct. 31, 2023, to file applications, and FSA will make payments as applications are received.

How to Apply

To apply, Maryland producers and handlers should contact their local FSA office USDA Service Center. As part of completing the OCCSP application, producers and handlers will need to provide documentation of their organic certification and eligible expenses.

Organic producers and handlers may also apply for OCCSP through participating state departments of agriculture. Additional details can be found on the OCCSP webpage.

 Read more about how to have your organics certification subsidized by the USDA.