Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. (FOG) is accepting applications from certified organic growers and handlers in Florida for reimbursement of up to 75% of certification costs, or a maximum of $750. Reimbursement for certification costs paid between Oct. 1, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2009, will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted. The deadline for submitting applications is Oct.15, 2009.
“FOG worked with other prominent national sustainable and agricultural organizations to make the national organic certification cost share reimbursement program a high priority in the 2008 Farm Bill. We are pleased to be part of this important effort to assist farmers in the state of Florida,” FOG executive director Marty Mesh said. “We thank the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for assistance in this effort.”
To qualify for the organic certification cost share reimbursement, an operator must have certified organic farm or production facilities in Florida, must hold an organic certificate issued by a USDA accredited certification agency issued between Oct. 1, 2008, and Sept. 30, 2009, and must not have previously received cost share reimbursement for the same period.
FOG is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that began in 1989 to promote organic and sustainable agriculture and healthy and just food systems, working diligently to educate producers, consumers, media institutions, and governments about the benefits of organic and sustainable agriculture. The Certification Cost Share Program and the Organic Transition Program that offers free crop advisors for growers interested in transitioning to organic production are programs FOG operates to encourage growers and handlers to become certified organic producers. FOG also offers workshops nationally and internationally on transitioning to organic production. It is the hope that the Certification Cost Share Program will aid growers who have been reluctant to get certified because of the cost associated.