Alabama producers who get certified organic between Oct. 1 and Dec. 15 are eligible for reimbursement from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.
Farmers would be eligible to receive 50% of certification costs, up to $500. Those growers interested in recouping some of those expenses need to apply by Dec. 31.
“That’s what makes it a little different than other cost-sharing programs is instead of them giving you the money beforehand, the farmer goes through basically the whole process; they have to go get certified and have people come look at their area and get certified organic, pay that fee. Then they reimburse you up to $500 on that fee,” said Jessie Boswell, Alabama Regional Extension agent, who specializes in commercial horticulture and farm and agribusiness management.
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries
According to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, application forms and additional details can be obtained by calling Johnny Blackmon with the ADAI at 334/240-7257 or by email at Johnny.Blackmon@agi.alabama.gov. Applicants may also apply at local USDA Farm Service Agency offices. To locate the office nearest you search https://offices.usda.gov/.
“I do think (organic production has) become more popular. I know a lot of farmers that grow organic, they’re just not certified organic. It does cost so much to get certified organic. I think this program is just to make it easier to become certified. It’s kind of taken away that little bit of a barrier for the producer,” Boswell said.
“They want people to become certified because that’s better branding for everyone and helps keep track of it. People have a little bit more faith, I believe, in certified organic, something that’s done through an organization that’s officially federally checked.”