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Farmer Friday: Organic Certification Cost Share and Bee Heaven Farm

Welcome to the first Farmer Friday!

Each Friday in November and December, we are excited to bring you stories of what Florida Organic Growers (FOG) has accomplished in the organic and farming industry and how its impacted farmers, consumers and the community while spotlighting farmers in Florida who have benefitted from our work.

We encourage you to join us as a member to allow us to continue this invaluable work.

Organic Certification Cost Share: How FOG helped make it happen

FOG was key in the development of the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program. In 1999, Florida, along with Minnesota and North Carolina, experimented with a statewide cost share certification program to reimburse organic producers a portion of their organic certification costs. FOG Executive Director Marty Mesh’s goal was to provide a way for small farmers to continue organic certification without being priced out of the marketplace due to the escalating certification costs.

Due to overwhelming interest and great results, the program continued in 2000 and 2001 and the language for the cost share program was used as a model in the 2002 Farm Bill. avos

Thanks to FOG’s hard work and persistence, the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is still in existence and was included in the 2014 Farm Bill that passed earlier this year.

Margie-n-Russell-avosFarmer Margie Pikarsky, owner of Bee Heaven Farm, a five-acre diversified family farm in Homestead, has benefitted from the cost share program and is a strong proponent of organic certification.

“The organic cost share program has helped make organic certification affordable for me, and for small farmers everywhere,” said Margie. “I always hear people saying that they can’t afford organic certification because it costs too much. They expect to spend $1000 or more and just can’t justify it. These folks don’t know about the cost share program, so I explain it to them.”

“I’ve been taking advantage of this cost share every year since it began, except for one year that the program wasn’t funded. That year took a bite out of us, so I’m happy to see that it’s been funded again in the Farm Bill. I’m grateful that we have a champion like Marty Mesh fighting for organic farmers!”

Part of FOG’s mission is to advocate for family scale farmers and make sure they aren’t left behind as policies such as, Organic Certification Cost Share Program are developed.

 Please join us as we continue our fight for family scale farmers and become a FOG member today!


Cost Share Deadline September 30, 2012

Posted on:

$$ Last Chance for Organic Farmers to Apply $$


Did you know that if you’re certified organic you are entitled to be paid back for 75% of your fees, up to a maximum of $750? You are, but the deadline to apply for the 2012 Florida Organic Certification Cost Share Program is the end of this month.

Florida Organic Growers administers this program as part of our appreciation and support for your efforts in the continued success of the organic industry. We hope this program will help ease financial pressures you may experience during the process of becoming certified organic. You can use your reimbursement to assist with your certification fees or as an opportunity to expand your business.

It is easy and fast to apply, simply fill out the application on our website, send that along with a W-9 form, and a copy of your organic certification. We’ll also need a document from your certifier showing all the money you paid that you can be reimbursed for this past year. You can send them through e-mail at, fax at 352-377-8363 or by mail to:

Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers, Inc.
Attention Cost Share Department
P.O. Box 12311 Gainesville, FL 32604

Applications are due by September 30th, 2012, so apply today! If you have any questions we’re here to assist you from 9am – 4pm Monday through Friday, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 352-377-6345, ask for Danielle or e-mail me directly at

Thank you again for everything that you do!