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Organic cost-share program applications available

BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2008-09 National Organic Cost-Share Program through Sept. 30.

"Organic producers, processors and handlers can use this program to recoup 75 percent of their organic certification costs up to $750," said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. "USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has provided $280,000 for this program in North Dakota."

Goehring said eligible applicants must have been certified to National Organic Program standards between Oct. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2009, and their certified operation must be located in North Dakota. Applications must include a 2008 cost share application form, a copy of a dated certificate or letter from a certifier verifying certification between Oct. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2009, a copy of the itemized billing statement documenting certification costs and a completed IRS Form W9.

The NOP certification process regulates and facilitates the sale of organic products. Certification identifies producers and suppliers of organic products and also serves as a product assurance to consumers. Products made wholly with certified organic ingredients and methods can be labeled "100% organic." Products with at least 95 percent organic ingredients can be labeled "organic." Products containing a minimum of 70 percent organic ingredients, can be labeled "made with organic ingredients."

In North Dakota, organic certification is handled by private companies, which are certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Program information and application forms are available on the NDDA website at