If you missed the deadline to apply for the Organic Certification Cost-Share program through us, you can still apply with your local USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. Use the Service Center Locator to find an office near you. Their new deadline is February 3, 2023.

The Organic Certification Cost-Share program helps farmers and handlers with the cost of obtaining organic certification.

Who is eligible?

Organic farmers and handlers who are currently certified to the USDA National Organic Program

  • If your operation’s certificate has been suspended, revoked, or withdrawn, you are not eligible for this program.
  • If you operate in more than one state, apply to the state where your farm or facility is physically located. This is usually listed on your organic certificate.

If you are transitioning to organic, see our Minnesota Transition to Organic Cost-Share program.

How much is available?

The cost-share reimburses 50% of allowed certification costs paid between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022. There is a maximum payment of $500 per category or “scope” of certification (crops, livestock, handling, and wild harvest).

  • For example, if you are a farm certified for both crops and livestock or you are a processor with two different certified facilities, you are eligible for a payment up to $1,000 (but you only have to submit one application form.)

We have approximately $250,000 available for cost-share program reimbursements this year. We process applications as they come in (first-come, first-served) until the application deadline or the funds are gone, whichever is first.

Allowable costs

  • Application fees
  • Inspection costs
  • Certification costs – including fees necessary to access international markets
  • User fees and sales assessments
  • Postage

Unallowable costs

  • Inspections due to violations of USDA Organic regulations
  • Charges related to non-USDA Organic certifications
  • Transitional certification costs
  • Materials, supplies, and equipment
  • Late fees
  • Membership fees
  • Consultant fees

How to apply

Applications are due by November 1, 2022.

  1. Apply online (preferred).
    • If you are a new user, you need to create an account.
    • Once you are logged in, select 2021-2022 Minnesota Organic Certification Cost-Share.
  2. Select your certifier.
    • If your certification agency is not listed in the application, upload proof of new or continuing certification (a copy of your current certificate or a letter from your certifier).
  3. Upload digital copies of your paid fees (itemized invoices or statements from your certifier showing payments made between 10/1/2021 and 9/30/2022).
  4. If this is your first time applying for reimbursement (or you’ve moved in the past year), complete a W-9 (Request for Taxpayer ID and Certification) using the W-9 PowerForm hosted by DocuSign, our secure signing system.

If you need a paper application, call us at 651-201-6134 as soon as possible. The last date your application can be postmarked is November 1, 2022. We cannot accept emailed or faxed applications.

Note: If you don’t want to apply with the MDA for this cost-share program, you can apply with your local USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. Use the Service Center Locator to find an office near you.

Funding for this program is provided by and contingent upon funds from cooperative agreement USDA-FSA-SND-NOCCSP-22-NOFO0001215 between the USDA Farm Service Agency and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Additional cost-share opportunity from FSA:

Both transitional and certified operations may be eligible for additional financial assistance to cover expenses paid during fiscal year 2022 through the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). OTECP is administered through your local USDA-Farm Service Agency office. Contact them for information on how to apply. The deadline to apply for OTECP is October 31, 2022.