August 24, 2010
The August edition of the National Organic Program newsletter features stories on the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program and its new program manager, as well as news on the upcoming National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in October. The NOP also released news this week on the use of methionine in organic poultry production.
Cost Share Money Still Available
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition member groups and allies recently had a conference call with Betsy Rakola, the new cost share program manager (and a graduate of the Agriculture, Food and Environment program at Tufts University), to discuss ways to increase outreach for the program.
NSAC helped create and win funding for the program during the last two farm bill campaigns.
Once certified by an accredited certifying agent, organic farmers and handlers may be reimbursed up to 75 percent of the costs related to certification, not to exceed $750 annually.
The article correctly notes that the program originated “when Congress designated funds to alleviate the financial burden of organic certification. Recognizing the increased costs for those participating in the organic market, the program was intended to make certification more affordable.”
Funding is still available in the current fiscal year.
“It’s important for producers and handlers to take advantage of this opportunity before the fiscal year ends,” noted Rakola. “Sept. 30 is rapidly approaching, so individuals seeking reimbursement should work with their state agencies and certifiers to submit a complete application as soon as possible.”
NSAC members are pleased to know that Rakola intends to streamline service to state agencies, improve program reporting, institute better guidance and training, and increase outreach.
To participate in the program, contact your state agency. Contact information can be found here.
NOSB in October
The next NOSB meeting is set for October 25-28 in Madison, Wisconsin. The meeting is open to the public, with public comment scheduled for the 25th and 27th. To sign up to make comments, contact Lisa Ahramjian at 202-690-3962.
The agenda includes proposed recommendations on nanotechnology, apiculture, use of animal healthcare products, the “made with” organic claim, and updates to the NOSB Policy and Procedures Manual and New Member Guide.
Discussion documents include animal stocking rates; animal handling, transit, and slaughter; and nutrient vitamins and minerals.
Methionine in Organic Poultry Production
In a recent USDA NOP newsletter there is a chart that lists allocations of cost-share funds for fiscal year 2010. A few questions…
1. How are allocations made… some states get very little funding
2. What was the actual use of the program in fiscal year 2009— how much of the funding was used in each state last year?
3. West Virginia made “no request” for national program funding … can a state simply refuse to administer the program in a particular state?
4. If a farmer doe not do his annual inspection until say October 15, 2010 is he/she only able to get reimbursed in fiscal year 2011?