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ILLINOIS ORGANIC CERTIFICATION COST-SHARE PROGRAM

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has funds available for the 2011 - 2012 Illinois Organic Cost Share Program through funds from 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 agent commencing October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012. Under the Act, cost-share assistance payments are limited to 75 percent of an individual producer's or handler's certification costs up to a maximum of $750.00 per certification or category of certification, per year. The NOP current 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 agent between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012. An organic production or handling operation must be located within Illinois, 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 agent between the eligible dates.

One year of certification reimbursement is available:

  • October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012

PROGRAM AUTHORITY

The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) is authorized under 7 U.S.C. 6523, as amended by section 10301 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. The USDA, AMS has allocated $22 million for this program over 5 years. The Act authorizes the USDA to provide certification cost share assistance to producers and handlers of organic agricultural products in all States. The program will provide cost share assistance, through participating States, to organic producers and handlers receiving certification or continuation of certification by a USDA accredited certifying agent.

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. To be eligible, operations must have a current USDA organic certificate. 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 first certification or have incurred expenses related to the renewal of certification by a USDA accredited certifying agent between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.

ALLOWABLE COSTS

Payments are limited to 75 percent of an individual producer's or handler's certification costs up to a maximum of $750.00 per certification or category of certification, per year. The NOP current 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 the Cost Share Manager. 

Allowable Costs          

  • Application Fees
  • Inspection costs
  • First-time USDA National Organic Program certification fees
  • Travel costs/per diem for organic inspectors
  • User fees / sales assessments
  • Postage

Unallowable Costs

  • Late Fees
  • Inspections due to violations of NOP regulations
  • . Any charges related to certifications other than USDA organic
  • Transitional certifications
  • Materials and Supplies
  • Equipment

Producer and Handler Application Procedures and Requirements

In order to receive a cost share reimbursement, eligible producers and handlers in Illinois should apply to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Applications will be accepted through November 1, 2012.

i. Application process for first-time applicants and/or newly-certified operations:

Once a producer or handler in Illinois receives proof of organic certification from an accredited certifying agent, (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPACAs) then s/he may apply to the Illinois Department of Agriculture for reimbursement. Applicants should keep records of all invoices and payments for certification-related expenses.

Copies of following documents may be required:

  1. Copy of USDA organic certificate
  2. Application form
  3. Itemized invoice and/or proof of payment for certification-related expenses (see Chart of Allowable and Unallowable Costssee appendix for eligible expenses). Certification expenses may be verified by obtaining information from the producer or handler's Accredited Certifying Agent.
  4. IRS W-9 tax form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf

Reimbursements may not be processed until the applicant is granted certification. 

ii. Process for renewal applicants:

  1. The applicant submits an application form to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, along with an itemized invoice for certification expenses. The Department verifies the applicant's name against the USDA's database of certified organic operations.
  2. If the applicant is not listed in the database, then proof of certification must be provided. If the applicant is in the database, then the reimbursement may be issued.

Based on the receipt of the completed application packet by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, reimbursements will be on a first-come, first-served basis until the limited program funds are exhausted.

For more information, contact Delayne Reeves at 217/524-9129 or delayne.reeves@illinois.gov.

National Organic Program website: www.ams.usda.gov/nop/


Questions or comments.

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State of Illinois Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 19281, State Fairgrounds
Springfield, IL 62794-9281
(217) 782-2172
(217) 524-6858 TTY