News Release – NR08-24 – September 30, 2008Posted on Sep 24, 2008 in 2008 News Releases, News-Releases
HONOLULU – Hawai`i’s organic farmers, organic livestock operators and organic produce handlers may apply for federal cost-sharing assistance for organic certification through the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) for the next year.
HDOA has entered into two separate cooperative agreements with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – one is a new program for Hawai`i organic farmers and the other involves a continuing program that will assist organic produce handlers. Organic farmers and livestock operators are required to have their farms and practices certified by a certifying agent approved by the USDA. Organic produce handlers, such as wholesalers and distributors, must also
HDOA has been notified that Hawai`i has been added to the list of states eligible to participate in the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Program, which was authorized under the Federal Crop Insurance Act. Under this program, reimbursement of 75 percent of the cost of certification (up to $750) is available for to eligible organic crop farmers and livestock producers who receive certification or who are continuing with certification under the National Organic Program during the period of October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009. Hawai`i has been awarded funding of up to $75,000 for this program.
Since 2004, HDOA has administered $40,000 to organic farmers under the certification cost reimbursement program provided by the USDA National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program. Under the Farm Bill passed by the U.S. Congress earlier this year, funds have been allotted to continue this program. However, since Hawai`i is included in the AMA program described above, this program will provide cost-sharing assistance only for organic handlers for 75 percent of certification costs (up to $750). Funding of $10,000 has been allotted for Hawai`i through this program for the period October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009.
“Organic farmers and handlers can benefit from both of these new programs,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture. “With the rising costs of production challenging local agribusinesses, we strongly encourage everyone eligible to apply and take advantage of these federal funds that are being made available as part of the state’s ongoing partnership with the USDA.”
“Hawai`i is very fortunate to be the latest addition to the Agricultural Management Assistance Organic Certification Cost-Share Program,” said Matthew Loke, administrator of the Agricultural Development Division. “The combined pool of funds available to local organic producers and handlers has increased to $85,000 a year, with the maximum payment to each eligible applicant increased from $500 to $750.”
To receive the reimbursement, a crop or livestock producer or handler in Hawai`i must receive organic certification or update of certification by a USDA accredited certifying agent from October 1, 2008, through September 30, 2009. For information and to download an application, click here. For application assistance, please contact:
HDOA Market Development Branch
1428 S. King Street, Room 214
Honolulu, HI 96814-2512
Phone: (808) 973-9595
Fax: (808) 973-9590
Email: [email protected]