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Organic farmers, processors certification rebate deadline is October 31

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Minnesota organic farmers and processors have until October 31 to apply for this year's Organic Certification Cost Share Program. So far, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has received applications from about 300 certified organic farms and businesses. MDA organic program administrator Meg Moynihan estimates that there are about 700 certified organic and roughly 250 processors in the state.

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"The program reimburses up to 75 percent of the costs associated with organic certification," said Moynihan. "We don't want anybody to miss out on the opportunity for a rebate, so we're reminding people to apply now."

Organic certification is a third-party audit system providing customer assurance that organic foods were grown and handled according to uniform USDA organic standards. Certified operations incur fees ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars each year.

Funding for the program is provided to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture by the USDA as authorized in the 2008 farm bill.

Moynihan says certified operations can get a copy of the application packet at www.mda.state.mn.us/organic or by calling (651) 201-6012. The deadline to apply is October 31.

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