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 been awarded funds through the 2015 National Organic Certification Cost Share Program. This program will provide cost share assistance to organic producers and handlers receiving certification or continuation of certification by a USDA-accredited certifying agent between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015. 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 per certification or category of certification per year. The program currently recognizes four categories of certification: crops, wild crops, livestock and processing/handling. 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 the Chart of Allowable and Unallowable Costs.

The National Organic Certification Cost Share program (NOCCSP) is authorized under section 10606(d)(1) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 7901 note), as amended by section 10004(c) of the Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill; Pub. L. 113–79). Under this authority, Congress authorizes USDA to provide organic certification cost share assistance to certified organic operations (producers and handlers) located within the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) administers the OCCSP using relevant sections of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and the Uniform Grant Guidance, 2 CFR 200. AMS awards OCCSP funds to eligible State Agencies, which operate as a pass-through system, by accepting and approving their applications so that they can issue reimbursements to organic operations.

To qualify for reimbursement through the Illinois Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, an organic production or handling operation must be located in Illinois, comply with USDA National Organic Program regulations and have received a USDA-accredited certification or continuation of certification in the current federal fiscal year.

Entities operating in more than one state should apply for reimbursement in the state where their federal taxes are filed. For those eligible to apply in Illinois, the application deadline is Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.

The following documents are required:

  1. An organic certificate containing the date of certification, a certification number and the name of the certifying agent.
  2. An itemized invoice detailing the costs incurred to obtain certification;
  3. A State Application Form (this form); and
  4. A W-9 Tax Form (

Organic operations certified to the scopes of crops, wild crops, livestock or handler are eligible to participate in the NOCCSP program. Reimbursements are limited to 75% of the operation's total allowable certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 per scope. No other direct costs are permitted.


Allowable and Unallowable Costs for Certified Organic Operations
The lists below of eligible and ineligible expenses are meant to be demonstrative, not exhaustive. Questions about allowable costs should be directed to the Cost Share Manager.

Allowable Costs

  • Application Fees
  • Inspection Fees
  • Travel costs/per diem for organic inspectors
  • Certification Costs
  • Fees associated with AMS market equivalency agreements
  • User Fees / Sales Assessments
  • Postage

Unallowable Costs

  • Inspections due to violations of USDA organic regulations
  • Charges related to non-USDA organic certifications
  • Transitional certifications
  • Materials and Supplies
  • Late Fees
  • Membership Fees
  • Consultant Fees


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

Reimbursements cannot be processed until an applicant is granted certification. Therefore, newly-certified operations should wait until they receive proof of their USDA organic certification before submitting an application for assistance. Operations that are maintaining their organic certification shold wait to apply until after they have incurred eligible expenses. Only allowable expenses incurred within the current federal fiscal year (10/1/14 to 9/30/15) 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. A State Application Form (;
  3. An itemized invoice detailing allowable certification costs incurred between Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015; and
  4. A W-9 Tax Form (

The department may verify organic certification through a variety of methods, including obtaining 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 Oct. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015.

For more information, contact Jeff Squibb at 217/524-9129 or

National Organic Program website: