Or­ganic farm­ers urged to ap­ply for cost share pro­gram


— Mary­land farm­ers and pro­ces­sors with or­ganic cer­ti­fi­ca­tions are now el­i­gi­ble for cost share re­im­burse­ment from the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s Or­ganic Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Cost Share Pro­gram.

The pro­gram is funded by the 2014 Farm Bill and can as­sist Mary­land farm­ers in pay­ing for


or­ganic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or re­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“This is a great op­por­tu­nity for all Mary­land farm­ers in­ter­ested in or­ganic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion,” said Mary­land Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Joe Barten­felder in a state­ment. “With strong de­mand for or­ganic prod­ucts, this pro­gram will pro­vide a boost to our ru­ral econo- mies and pro­vide all Mary­lan­ders with more ac­cess to fresh, lo­cal prod­ucts.”

Farms and busi­nesses that pro­duce, process or pack­age cer­ti­fied or­ganic agri­cul­tural prod­ucts are el­i­gi­ble to be re­im­bursed for up to 75 per­cent of their costs — up to $750 per scope — for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion between Oct. 1, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016. The ap­pli­ca­tion for the cost share fund­ing, as well as other in­for­ma­tion about the pro­gram, is avail­able on the Mary­land Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture’s web­site.

The Cost Share Pro­gram is part of the USDA Agri­cul­tural Mar­ket­ing Ser­vice, and will pro­vide over $10 mil­lion of as­sis­tance in Fis- cal Year 2016. Re­im­burse­ments will be awarded on a first-come, first-served ba­sis un­til fund­ing is ex­hausted.

Ques­tions may be di­rected to Deanna Bald­win at deanna.bald­win@mary­land.gov or 410-8415769. In­for­ma­tion also is avail­able on the USDA Na­tional Or­ganic Pro­gram web­site.

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