Organic Certification Cost Share Programs

The objective of this program is to provide financial assistance to certified organic producers and handlers.

credit: The Economic Times - BCCL 2014.


Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.





Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

The Organic Certification Cost Share Programs reimburse eligible producers and handlers for a portion of the costs of organic certification.

Applicants may receive reimbursements of up to 75% of the costs of certification, with an annual maximum of $750.

State agencies (typically Departments of Agriculture) work with the USDA to administer the program.

After entering into a grant agreement, the state agencies process applications for cost share funds from certified organic producers and handlers, and the USDA reimburses them.

FSA will also process applications through FSA county offices.

Applicants typically submit a one-page application form, along with proof of certification and an itemized invoice, to their State?s department of agriculture or an FSA county office.

Funds may only be used to provide reimbursements to certified organic and transitional producers and handlers.

A 10% indirect cost recovery is allowed.

Funds may only be used to provide reimbursements to certified organic producers and handlers.

A 10% indirect cost recovery is allowed.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

To be eligible for cost share payments, a producer or handler must possess USDA organic certification and/or transitional certification at the time of application and have paid fees/expenses related to its initial certification or renewal of its certification from a certifying agent.

State Agencies are eligible to establish an agreement to administer the program within their State.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The eligible certified producer/handler receives the OCCSP benefit.

Credentials/Documentation

No Credentials or documentation are required. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The USDA will coordinate with State governments to determine budgetary allocations.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. The submission of a Standard Form 424 (Application for Federal Assistance) through Grants.Gov and the signing of a grant agreement with the USDA Farm Service Agency is required.

Award Procedures

Allocations are awarded to State Departments of Agriculture or their equivalents based on the number of certified organic operations in the State, as well as the history of participation in the cost share program by certified organic operations in that State. Payments to eligible operations will be calculated as 75 percent of the allowable costs incurred by an eligible operation, not to exceed a maximum of $750 per certification scope.

Deadlines

Jan 02, 2017 to Oct 31, 2017 States must submit applications to establish agreements to administer the program by January 16, 2017. Eligible operations that apply for cost share assistance through the Farm Service Agency must submit applications between January 2, 2017, and October 31, 2017.

Authorization

The Agricultural Management Cost Share Program is authorized under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (FICA) as amended., Title 7, Part 36, Section 1501-1524, 7 U.S.C 1501-1524; The National Cost Share Program is authorized under 7 U.S.C. 7901 note, as amended by section 10004(c) of the Agriculture Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill)., Title 7, Part 94, Section 7901, Public Law 113-79, 7 U.S.C 7901.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 1 to 15 days.

Appeals

Appeal regulations are set forth in parts 11 and 780 of 7CFR apply to determinations on applications submitted to the Farm Service Agency by certified organic and transitional operations.

Renewals

Grant agreements last only one fiscal year in duration. Pending the availability of funds, States may sign a new grant agreement for the ensuing fiscal year.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory Formula: Title 7, Chapter 94, Part 7901, Public Law 113-79. Not applicable. This program has no matching requirements. Not applicable. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Assistance is available for one federal fiscal year. Participating States must disburse funds and finalize reports within 90 days after the end of the federal fiscal year. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Funds are disbursed upon request, utilizing Standard Form 270, 'Request for Advance or Reimbursement.'.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

A final narrative report is required, which is to be no more than 2 pages.

The report should cover: 1.

Description of the outreach activities carried out by the State and/or subrecipients, including the methods used to identify potential applicants, means of contact with potential applicants, and outreach materials for distribution, i.e.

publications, announcements, press releases, etc. 2.

Description of problems or obstacles related to reimbursement, program administration, outreach, etc., during the reporting period. 3.

Explanation for any denial of requests for reimbursement.

No cash reports are required.

No progress reports are required.

Afinal report is required, utilizing Standard Form 425, Federal Financial Report.

No performance monitoring is required.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.

Records

The program requires record of applicant by name, applicants' certification expenses, and the reimbursement paid to the applicants. In accordance with 7 CFR 3016.42, grant recipients should retain all records relating to the grant for a period of three years after the final Federal Financial Report been submitted to the Federal Agency, or until final resolution of any audit finding or litigation, whichever is later. Electronic records retention is acceptable.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-8015-0-7-352.

Obigations

(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 16 Not Available; FY 17 est $12,500,000; and FY 18 Not Separately Identifiable - FY 2016: $932,000 available under the AMA $10,718,000 available under the NOCCSP.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Awards range from $2,500 - $3,000,000 annually.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Program is announced through press releases, news media, and newsletters. Guidelines and Regulations can be found at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/occsp.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Rita Meade 1400 Independence Ave SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Email: Rita.Meade@ams.usda.gov Phone: 202-260-8636

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.



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