State Fairgrounds - P.O. Box 19281 - Springfield, IL 62794-9281 - 217/782-2172 - TDD 217/524-6858 - Fax 217/785-4505

Organic Certification Cost Share Program

USDA OrganicThe Illinois Department of Agriculture has funds available for the 2014 National Organic Certification 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, 2013, through September 30, 2014. 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, 2013 and September 30, 2014. 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, 2013 through September 30, 2014

 

PROGRAM AUTHORITY

The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill)(7 U.S.C. 7901 note) authorized the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide grants to 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 5 territories who will provide cost share assistance to organic producers and handlers who participate in the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP).

Section 10301 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill)(7 U.S.C. 8701 note) amended the 2002 Farm Bill and authorized USDA to provide grants to States from 2008 through 2012 to encourage participation in organic food production. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (26 U.S.C. 1 note) extended the 2008 Farm Bill for one year until September 30, 2013, but did not provide funding for the NOCCSP. Section 10004(c) of the Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) (Pub. L. 113-79) amended the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 and authorized the USDA to provide 11.5M to assist producers and handlers of agricultural products in obtaining certification under the National Organic Program.

 

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 on 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.  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, 2013 and September 30, 2014.

 

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 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 the Cost Share Manager.

Allowable Costs

  • Application Fees
  • Inspection costs
  • First-time USDA NOP 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, 2014.

 

FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS/NEWLY-CERTIFIED OPERATIONS and RENEWAL APPLICANTS
Once an operation receives proof of USDA organic certification from an accredited certifying agent, 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 (10/1/13 to 9/30/14) can be reimbursed.  Applicants should keep records of all invoices and payments for certification-related expenses.

 

The following documents are required:

  1. An organic certificate with a date, certification number and name of the certifier;
  2. Application form;
  3. An itemized invoice detailing allowable certification costs (refer to Allowable and Unallowable Costs) incurred between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014; and
  4. A W-9 Tax Form. (www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf)

 

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, 2013 and September 30, 2014.

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/

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