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Mendocino Wine Company, Ukiah CA

Biodynamic Farm

Mendocino Wine Company, Ukiah CA
Harmony Farm  • Tipp City, OH
Avena Botanicals • Rockport, ME
Avena Botanicals • Rockport, ME
Avena Botanicals • Rockport, ME
Love Apple Farm • Santa Cruz, CA

Organic Cost Share


Cost Share - A Refund of Organic Certification Fees

The USDA Organic Certification Cost Share Programs (OCCSP) provide organic producers and handlers with financial assistance to reduce the cost of organic certification. The programs reimburse producers and handlers for a portion of their paid certification costs. Once certified, organic producers and handlers are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 75% of certification costs each year up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope — crops, livestock, wild crops and handling.

The applicant must submit the application form(s) along with a copy(s) of certification and copy(s) of the associated expenses required to obtain and/or maintain certification and the completed form STD 204 within the allotted time frame. Cost share applications are paid on a first come first served basis.

What Programs Does the OCCSP Include?

The OCCSP consist of two distinct USDA organic certification cost share programs:

  • National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP)
  • Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program (AMA)

Both programs are overseen by USDA and have similar eligibility requirements; however, AMA funds are only available to producers in 16 specific states.
For more information on the differences between the two programs, visit https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/occsp

Who Is Eligible?

Certified organic producers and handlers who have paid certification fees may apply for reimbursement of the incurred costs.

Is Organic Certification Required to Participate?

Yes. Organic certification cost share funds are only available to certified organic producers and handlers. If your operation is not currently certified organic and you would
like to learn more about the certification process, please visit our certification page to learn more, or contact us!

What Costs Are Reimbursable?

Eligible costs: Application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement/arrangement requirements, travel/ per diem for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments, and postage.

Ineligible costs: Equipment, materials, supplies, late fees, transitional certification inspections, and inspections necessary to address NOP regulatory violations.

What is the Maximum Reimbursement Amount?

Since there are four possible scopes, the maximum reimbursement amount is $3,000. This would occur if the operator is certified for all four scopes and the overall allowable certification costs are equal to or greater than $4,000 (the 75% rule).

How are the Programs Administered?

The USDA allocates cost share funds to State agencies (typically departments of agriculture), which then administer the cost share programs and provide reimbursement to producers and handlers.

How Do I Apply For Reimbursement?

Application processes vary by State, contact your State Agency for application procedures.

Producers and handlers may submit OCCSP applications to FSA county offices or they may apply through participating State agencies.

To apply through FSA, you can find an FSA county office near you with the Service Center Locator. The FSA OCCSP application form is available at USDA's eForms site, by selecting "Browse forms" and entering "OCCSP" in the "title or keywords" field on the search page. You will need the latest version of Acrobat Reader to download this form, which you can download here.

The following States are also accepting 2017 OCCSP applications through their State departments of agriculture or other State agencies: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CT, FL, HI, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MN, MS, MO, NH, JN, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, TX, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY. Please note that State agencies may have a different application process than FSA; applicants should refer to their State agency's requirements and ensure they are using the correct application form before submitting their applications. Applicants cannot receive duplicate benefits from both FSA and a State agency. Find your state agency.

Additional Resources:

Forms