Michigan Organic Listserv
May 15, 2019
MSU Center for Regional Food Systems
News and info to help you with organic farming and certification
What’s on offer?
Forcing Flowers-tomorrow and other classes offered by MSU OFTP on farm
USDA NOP seeking new members for Organic Standards Board
USDA Organic Cost Share now available for Organic farmers to apply
USDA launches Organic Learning Center
Michigan Good Food Fund
North Central SARE Grant Opportunities
Seeking farm manager with potential for permanent position
Additional Workshops on Farms, Taught by Farmers!
Each Farmer Field School workshop features in-depth, practical insights from the wealth of knowledge in Michigan’s farming community. Experienced farmers and agricultural educators team up to co-teach each workshop.
Farmer Field School is designed to improve the profitability of diversified, sustainable farms in their first 10 years.
See Farmer Field School for more program information and current workshops.
JOIN THE MICHIGAN BEGINNING FARMER EMAIL LIST - subscribe HERE.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) seeks nominations of qualified individuals for five open seats on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The 15-member advisory board considers and makes recommendations on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances and other issues involving the production, handling and processing of USDA certified organic products.
Each member serves a five-year term and represents specific sectors of the organic community. Current openings include:
USDA is also accepting nominations of qualified candidates to fill future unexpected vacancies in any of the seven categories representing the scope of the organic agricultural community.
Members attend two in-person meetings each year and participate in bi-monthly subcommittee conference calls. USDA reimburses NOSB members for approved travel and associated lodging expenses.
Nominations must include a resume and an AD-755 application form. Nominations may also include an optional cover letter and letters of reference.
Nominations may be emailed to [log in to unmask] at the National Organic Program or mailed to: USDA-AMS-NOP, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 2642-S., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, DC 20250-0268. Electronic submissions are preferred.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Applications for fiscal 2019 funding are due Oct. 31, 2019.
If you paid for USDA organic certification between October 31, 2019 through October 31, 2019 then you are eligible to apply for USDA Organic Cost Share. What that means is you can receive reimbursement of expenses that you paid to become certified up to 75% of the eligible costs up with a cap of $750. Note for each organic certificate you receive you are eligible to apply for cost share. For example, if you have layers and eggs under the USDA Organic Certification program and have a certificate for that and another for vegetable production then you can apply for 2 separate organic certifications and receive up to $1500.
The FSA offices, throughout Michigan, are now accepting Organic Cost Share applications NOW through Oct 31, 2019. So, if you have your certificate dated after October 31, 2018 then you are eligible to apply for this cost share as a certified organic farmer. This application is easiest to complete if you visit the FSA office that serves your county. To find which office serves your county visit this link: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?service=page/CountyMap&state=MI1&stateName=Lower%20Michigan&stateCode=26
It is easiest to complete the application in person at your area FSA office. The FSA office will walk you through the process right there. Note the hours of the office may be different depending on the location.
You will need to take with you:
1. Organic certificate(s) (they will photo copy it for you)
2. Receipts for payment of organic certification
3. Completion of short form which they will provide.
4. A deposit slip to your bank as your refund will be directly deposited to your checking account.
“Producers can visit their local FSA county offices to apply for up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “This also gives organic producers an opportunity to learn about other valuable USDA resources, like farm loans and conservation assistance, that can help them succeed. Organic producers can take advantage of a variety of USDA programs from help with field buffers to routine operating expenses to storage and handling equipment.”
OCCSP received continued support through the 2018 Farm Bill. It provides cost-share assistance to producers and handlers of agricultural products for the costs of obtaining or maintaining organic certification under the USDA’s National Organic Program. Eligible producers include any certified producers or handlers who have paid organic certification fees to a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Eligible expenses for cost-share reimbursement include application fees, inspection costs, fees related to equivalency agreement and arrangement requirements, travel expenses for inspectors, user fees, sales assessments and postage.
Certified producers and handlers are eligible to receive reimbursement for up to 75 percent of certification costs each year, up to a maximum of $750 per certification scope, including crops, livestock, wild crops, handling and state organic program fees.
The National Organic Program has launched the new Organic Integrity Learning Center, providing free 24/7 online training
“Fair and consistent certification and robust enforcement of the organic standards are keys to protect the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal that consumers trust and producers rely on,” said NOP Deputy Administrator Jennifer Tucker. “Maintaining organic integrity worldwide requires well-qualified and trained organic professionals. We want to make sure they have the tools they need.”
Initial courses offerings include:
Future courses will include Dairy Compliance, Traceability Techniques, Advanced Inspections, Materials Reviews, Certification Administration, and Sampling and Testing. Each training lesson includes assessments to track learning progress.
USDA is committed to maintaining a level playing field for organic producers, handlers and retailers in the domestic and international supply chain. Training previously available on the NOP website is also still available through the Learning Center.
Learn more and get started.
Organic Farming Specialist
Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University
480 Wilson Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824
If you would like to access a searchable archive of the all the previous Mich-Organic listserv postings copy this URL and paste in your browser address field http://list.msu.edu/archives/mich-organic.html