Deadline looming for organic farmers seeking assistancePublished 10:24am Monday, February 10, 2014
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture reminds growers of the Feb. 14, 2014, deadline to apply for the 2013 Minnesota Organic Transition Cost Share program.
The program helps farmers who are transitioning their land or livestock to certified organic status. It reimburses part of the cost to work with a USDA-accredited organic certifying agency during the transition period, which typically lasts 36 months. Certifying agencies visit farms and verify that the farmers’ practices comply with federal organic regulations.
In addition, farmers can request reimbursement for soil testing costs and registration fees to attend an organic education conference in Minnesota or a neighboring state.
Farmers transitioning to organic can receive a rebate of 75 percent of these eligible costs. The maximum payment is $750 per year for three years or until achievement of organic certification, whichever comes first.
“We’ve already had several farmers apply for this program, which was brand new in 2013,” said program administrator Meg Moynihan. “We’ll be offering it again in 2014, but the chance to apply for reimbursements for costs incurred last year — in 2013 — is February 14, 2014.”
Application forms for both the 2013 and 2014 programs and a set of Frequently Asked Questions are available at www.mda.state.mn.us/organic or by calling 651-201-6012.