Organic Farmers Offered Reimbursement for Certification Costs

Friday, March 27, 2015 | 8:38am

Tennessee farmers who grow organic crops and have become USDA certified can now qualify for a cost share reimbursement for the costs of their certification.

Certified organic producers can apply to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture for a 75 percent cost share up to a maximum of $750 to help defray costs related to receiving and maintaining organic certification, including inspection costs. Organic operations that have achieved certification since October 1, 2014 meet the time qualification to seek reimbursement, as do organic operations that become certified between now and September 30, 2015.

Organic certification typically costs small farm producers between $600 and $1,000 annually.  Costs increase based on product and sales volume.

"Total organic product sales by farms and ranches in the United States continue to grow every year, increasing by 83 percent between 2007 and 2012," TDA marketing specialist Amy Tavalin said. "The latest USDA census results show the continued interest in organic agriculture among consumers, producers and businesses.”

“When we respond to consumer interest with programs that help our farmers participate more competitively in these trends, everyone benefits,” Tavalin said.  “Farms increase their incomes, their rural communities thrive because of it, and Tennesseans get greater access to the fresh, local products they want.”

“Certification is seed our organic farmers can sow right now to help them strengthen their marketing options and get the biggest financial yield out of what they produce.”

For more information about USDA organic certification and cost share reimbursement, visit http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=organic-agriculture.html.

You can also contact Amy Tavalin at (615) 837-5163 or email Amy.Tavalin@TN.gov.