Organic certification grants still available
Organic growers in North Carolina can still apply for partial reimbursement of the cost of becoming certified or recertified producers through a program offered by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“We still have about a third of the grant funds available, so I would encourage organic producers who have gone through the certification process to submit their application for reimbursement,” said Kevin Hardison, marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.”
Growers who are certified or recertified before Sept. 30, can apply for assistance. The program will pay 75 percent of the cost of certification, up to $750.
The program is funded through a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
To apply, growers must fill out an authorization form that can be found online at www.ncdaorganic.org.
The completed form, a copy of the farm’s certification and a copy of the receipts from the certifying agency should be mailed to the NCDA&CS Division of Marketing, Attn. Kevin Hardison, 1020 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1020. The invoice must show the total cost of certification and the 75 percent portion that is eligible for reimbursement.
Growers with questions can call Hardison at (919) 733-7887.
“As consumer interest in certified products has grown, so has the number of organic producers statewide,” Hardison said. “North Carolina has more than 6,000 certified organic acres, and these farms produce a variety of vegetables, livestock, herbs and other products.”