US – The US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is to provide $11.9 million in organic certification assistance.
The money being provided through state departments of agriculture is to make organic certification more affordable for organic producers and handlers across the country.
"The organic industry saw record growth in 2014, accounting for over $39 billion in retail sales in the United States," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"The organic certification cost share programs help more organic businesses succeed and take advantage of economic opportunities in this growing market."
The funding is provided on a cost share basis and certification assistance is distributed by two programmes.
Through the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program, $11 million is available to organic farms and businesses nationwide.
Through the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost Share Program (AMA), an additional $900,000 is available to organic producers (crop and livestock operators only) in Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Funded by the 2014 Farm Bill, these programmes provide cost share assistance to USDA certified organic producers and handlers, covering as much as 75 per cent of an individual applicant's certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 annually per certification scope.
In 2014, USDA issued nearly 10,000 reimbursements totalling over $6 million, providing critical support to the organic community.
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