Categorized | Agriculture

Renewed funding for organic certification program

MEDIA RELEASE

The state Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is accepting applications for a new round of organic certification cost-share assistance to organic farmers, organic livestock operators and organic produce handlers.

Renewed federal funding totaling up to $95,000 has been allotted to help Hawaii agribusinesses with the cost of organic certification through two separate cooperative agreements executed between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and HDOA.

Organic farmers and livestock operators are required to have their farms and practices inspected annually and certified by an agent approved by the USDA.

Seventy-five percent of the cost of this inspection and certification (up to a maximum of $750) is eligible for reimbursement under the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (AMAOCCSP) program which was authorized under the Federal Crop Insurance Act.

This is the third consecutive year Hawaii has participated in this program. Once again, Hawaii has been allotted $75,000 for the funding period Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011.

In addition, the USDA has a separate program to assist companies certified as organic processors/handlers. As with the growers, processors/handlers are required to be inspected and re-certified annually.

Under the USDA National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (NOCCSP), funding of $20,000 has been allotted to Hawaii to reimburse 75 percent of the cost of this certification (up to a maximum of $750).

“We are glad to see a growing number of applications for these cost-sharing programs in Hawaii,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, chairperson of the state Board of Agriculture. “The more organic produce we grow here, the less needs to be imported from outside the state to meet the demands of these products.”

The HDOA has been participating in the USDA NOCCSP since 2004 to assist and encourage the growth of organic farming in the state. The initial program allotted $40,000 to reimburse both growers/producers and processors/handlers over a four-year period.

In recognition of the growth and importance of organic farming in Hawaii and across the nation, the USDA increased the total funding and separated the certification categories into separate programs in 2008.

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, HDOA approved 91 applications from growers/producers in Hawaii, an increase of 18 percent over the previous year, totaling nearly $43,700 in assistance.

During the same period, there were 23 processors/handlers approved, which was an increase of 53 percent over the previous year, totaling almost $9,400 in assistance.

To receive reimbursement, the date of certification or renewal by a USDA accredited certifying agent must occur between Oct. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2011.

Applications and information are available online at the HDOA website: hawaii.gov/hdoa/add/md/Organic…

For assistance with the application process, write: HDOA – Agricultural Development Division, Market Development Branch, 1428 S. King Street, Room 214, Honolulu, HI 96814-2512
Phone: (808) 973-9595
Fax: (808) 973-9590
Email: hdoa.md@hawaii.gov

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