USDA DEFIES CONGRESS AND UNILATERALLY CUTS REIMBURSEMENT RATES TO FARMERS FOR ORGANIC CERTIFICATION. In October 2002 USDA formally began regulation of the organic industry. As an element of its control over organic, USDA made it mandatory that EVERY farmer using the regulated word "Organic" MUST become Certified Organic by a USDA- Accredited Certifying Agency (here in Maine we have been Certified Organic by USDA-ACA MOFGA for 38 years).
Because organic farmers are involuntarily forced to be Certified Organic, it has been fair – and there has been an on-going compromise – that USDA help organic family farmers pay for the cost of mandatory organic certification. In the 2018 Farm Bill Congress set the cost share at 75% USDA / 25% Farmer with certain additional ceilings in effect.
On Monday, in defiance of the law, USDA capriciously dropped its reimbursement share to 50%.
USDA's long-held hatred of organic and strong bias against family farmers is coming through loud-and-clear. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic virtually NO organic farmers have benefited from federal bailout programs. As is typical with USDA, most of the emergency funds have been channeled to the largest corporate operations.
You can help organic farmers by contacting your members of Congress and asking them to make USDA obey the law and comply with full Congressionally mandated reimbursement rates. This article contains good background info.Thanks! Caleb, Megan & Jim http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render…
"USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced yesterday that they would be reducing reimbursement rates for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program from 75 percent to 50 percent, despite the 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress clearly setting the reimbursement rates at 75 percent. This is a huge blow to organic producers who rely on this funding, especially as farmers are still dealing with the pandemic and loss of markets. In 2018, 360 operations in Maine received $253,900 in cost share reimbursements…
"In addition, the FSA has done a huge disservice to the organic community in this time of crisis by delaying the release of funds by many months while organic operations struggle to stay in business as they weather a pandemic and loss of markets. Organic, direct market, and diversified operations have largely been excluded from existing USDA pandemic relief programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, while the top 1 percent of recipients got more than 20 percent of the money, totaling $1.2 billion."
Found on Google from mofgacertification.org