Organic Certification Cost Share Program

Cost Share - A Refund of Organic Certification Fees

The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is now open for applications. This program helps farmers and processors afford the expense of organic certification by refunding up to 75% of their certification costs per NOP scope of organic certification, with a maximum of $750 per scope. The NOP currently recognizes four scopes of certification: crops, wild crops, livestock, and processing/handling. This means that clients with more than one certification scope may be eligible for more than one refund.

Any operation that is located within the United States and received organic certification between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 may apply for reimbursement. The application deadline is October 31, 2016.

Why is Cost Share Important?
Historically, farm bill funding has not been as generous to organic producers as it has for conventional. Cost share is one of the few programs offered specifically to support organic producers. The new farm bill passed in February 2014 reinstated the program in all 50 states, for a total of almost $13 million per year. Utilizing all available funds each year will demonstrate a need for this program and encourage Congress to continue funding it.

CCOF strongly encourages all organic farmers, livestock operations, and handlers to take advantage of these funds. If the organic industry can utilize all funds offered through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program, it will succeed in demonstrating a need for this funding. If the total allocation of funds is not used by the end of the program, Cost Share appropriations will likely be reduced during the next round of farm bill negotiations. Whether your operation needs the funds or not, applying helps ensure future funding and program availability for small businesses trying to succeed in the organic marketplace.

Apply for Cost-Share Funds in California:
There are only four pages of documentation you are required to submit for the state of California to receive Cost Share funds:

  • 2-page CDFA application
  • Proof of payment – CCOF offers a report of funds at your request
  • Copy of the organic certificate

Please follow the steps below carefully to gather all of the necessary documentation! It is important to submit complete, correct information and documentation to ensure that your application is considered, and to improve your chance of receiving funds. Below are all the forms you need to complete your application.

  1. Read through our Organic Certification Cost Share packet, which includes:
    • CDFA Cost Share letter
    • CDFA application and instructions
    • Sample application
    • Payee data record
    • CCOF Request for Verification of Costs form
  2. Collect the following documentation:
    • A copy of your organic certificate
    • Copies of all associated organic certification and inspection expense receipts
    • If you do not have copies of this documentation, complete and return a Request for Verification of CCOF Certification Costs form 
      • Allow 14 days for CCOF to complete your request
  3. Complete and sign a CDFA Federal Organic Certification Cost Share Application. CDFA must receive an original signed application—do not photocopy or fax.
  4. Complete the Payee Data Record (STD. 204) form. Make sure the name on this form matches the name on the Cost Share application.
  5. Send your completed, signed application to CDFA with all supporting documentation:
    • Your organic certificate, proof of fees paid for organic certification and inspection, and Payee Data Record (STD. 204).

Note: Applications are approved on a “first received and complete, first approved” basis. Incomplete applications will be returned and your place in line will be lost. DO NOT SEND APPLICATIONS TO CCOF.

Mail applications to:
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Organic Program
Cost Share Reimbursement
ATTN: Sharon Parsons
1220 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

For assistance, contact Sharon Parsons at sparsons@cdfa.ca.gov or (916) 900-5202.


Apply for Cost-Share Funds in Other States:

Find your state’s Cost-Share contact to ask about application procedures and deadlines in your state.

Additional Cost Share Resources

Cost Share for Transitional Operations
NOP Cost Share Fact Sheet

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