Organic certification subsidy disappears

jenehr carrots and chard

Photo by Flickr user vigilant20, used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

George Hesselberg recently reported for the Wisconsin State Journal on a small but costly blow that organic farmers will soon be dealt. As he details,

It may seem like small potatoes to some, but about half of the certified organic farmers in Wisconsin will not get an annual federal subsidy of up to $750 to help cover the cost of getting their operations inspected, a necessary step in being certified organic.

Usually, the deadline to apply for the subsidy is the end of October, so many farmers just now are realizing that, after nearly 10 years, it is gone. Beginning and transitional organic farmers will suffer the most, as will some small businesses that must be certified to handle those products, experts say.

As Lewis Wallace reported for NPR member station 91.3 WYSO of Yellow Springs, Ohio,

At midnight Monday, [September 30,] a nine-month extension of the latest version of [the federal Farm Bill] expired, which means for the moment, the law reverts to its 1949 version.

MacKenzie Bailey with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association says the ongoing insecurity over the bill makes life harder for organic farmers.

“Farmers rely on programs like farmers market promotion programs that help put investments in our local farmers markets, the national organic cost share program, which helps alleviate the costs of organic certification,” she said.

For more, check out Wallace’s brief story and Hesselberg’s article.


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