Organic Farmers Eligible for Certification Reimbursement

Department of Agriculture News Release

Friday, October 22, 2010,  By Molokai Dispatch staff

To aid organic farmers, livestock operators and produce handlers in their organic certification, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is currently accepting applications for cost-share assistance.

Federal funding of 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.

To receive reimbursement, the date of certification or renewal by a USDA accredited certifying agent must occur between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011.  Applications and information are available online at the HDOA website:  http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/add/md/OrganicProducers

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 that Hawaii has participated in this program.  Once again, Hawaii has been allotted $75,000 for the funding period October 1, 2010 through September 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 Hawaii 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.”

For assistance with the application process, contact:
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