A small federal grant will help organic growers in Iowa get certified. Maury Wills is organic program administrators in Iowa’s ag department, and says USDA’s sending about 125-thousand dollars to help local growers through a rather demanding process.He says you need to go through a detailed application process including filling out an organic handling-system plan, and undergo an annual inspection of the farm. Right now Wills says there are about 400 certified organic growers in the state, and some 2100 processors.He explains processors are people who handle things like organic grain, or manufacture organic food in the state. They must pay application fees, inspection fees, and a further charge for certification that’s based on the size of the operation or volume of sales. Those costs may be offset by the USDA’s grant, though Wills says 125-thousand dollars may not go far enough. It’s likely that if everyone who’s eligible applies, they’ll have to go back to USDA and ask for more money. And Wills says it looks like the federal agriculture department will provide more money for the program, if it’s requested.
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