Organic Certification Cost Share Funds

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Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled USDA organic,  a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.

USDA Organic logo
To obtain this symbol the food must contain at least 95% organic ingredients, not counting added water and salt.

NC Organic Certification Cost Share Program
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is now accepting applications for the 2019-20 program. Applications must be postmarked by November 20, 2020.

Operations that have successfully received their initial USDA organic certification from a USDA-accredited certifying agent or have incurred and paid expenses related to the renewal of their USDA organic certification from a USDA-accredited certifying agent between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020, are eligible to receive reimbursements.

Certified organic operations can apply for cost-share assistance through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) or at any Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office. There is no difference in your eligibility or reimbursement amount; however, the paperwork may differ between agencies.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture “Certified organic” means that agricultural products have been grown and processed according to the specific standards of various State and private certification organizations. Certifying agents review applications from farmers and processors for certification eligibility, and qualified inspectors conduct annual onsite inspections of their operations. Inspectors talk with operators and observe their production and processing practices to determine if they are in compliance with organic standards that, for example, virtually prohibit synthetic pesticide use in crop production and require outdoor access for animals in livestock production.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has put in place a set of national standards that food labeled USDA organic must meet, whether it is grown in the United States or imported from other countries. After October 21, 2002, when you buy food labeled USDA organic you can be sure that it was produced using the highest organic production and handling standards in the world.

Visit the following links to learn more about organically grown foods:
Transition to Organics.

National Organic Certification


Mail forms and letters to:

Heather Barnes, Marketing Specialist
North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
1020 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-1020
(919) 707-3127

Written By

Charles Mitchell, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionCharles MitchellCounty Extension Director, Field Crops Agent & Pesticide Coordinator Call Charles E-mail Charles N.C. Cooperative Extension, Franklin County Center
Updated on Jan 12, 2021
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