Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”
A recently released USDA survey showed that the number of organic farms in the U.S. is increasing, and some of that growth has occurred here in North Carolina.
In 2014, North Carolina had 264 organic farms producing $66.9 million in organic products on more than 22,000 acres. That indicates the sector has grown since the last survey in 2008, when there were 246 organic farms producing $53 million in organic products on 9,600 acres.
Nationally, there are more than 14,000 organic farms, which sold $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014.
One of the challenges organic growers face is becoming certified. Fortunately, NCDA&CS has a program where growers can apply for partial reimbursement of the cost of becoming certified or recertified. The program is funded through a $212,000 grant from the USDA.
Growers who had expenses for certification or recertification between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015, can apply for assistance through the program. The program will pay 75 percent of the cost of certification up to a total of $750. Operations can be certified and reimbursed in four separate categories: crops, livestock, wild crop and handler/processor.
Applications must be postmarked by Dec. 1, but Commissioner Troxler encourages organic growers to get their applications in early because the funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information about the organic cost-share grant program, contact Heather Barnes at 919-707-3127 or click here.
Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about organic farming and the cost-share program.
[Audio:/wp-content/uploads/Troxler_9-29-15.mp3|titles=Today’s Topic for Sept. 29]
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