I’ve heard through the grapevine that the cost of working with private companies was quite expensive and only made sense for large operations that could recoup the expenses easily because of the sheer volume of the operations. I was hoping that working with the State Department of Ag. would mean a reduction of those costs; no such luck.
Never daunted by things not working out the way I had envisioned, I contact company located in Lincoln Nebraska called OneCert. OneCert is one of those private businesses that has been approved by the USDA to certify productions as organic. I picked them as I am an alumnus of the University of Nebraska and had spent six years of my life living in Lincoln.
I went to their site and filled out a very short form, and in five minutes had all the documents I needed to start the process. This is the difference in working with the government and a private enterprise. Although expensive, working with OneCert is not excessively so. I did learn from the Fed’s website that there was a program that would reimburse the cost of certification up to 75% but not to exceed $750. Based on what I’ve learned so far, this reimbursement will reduce our costs to a very manageable level. Good news indeed!
We have just begun filing the forms and preparing the material for OneCert, so I am not sure exactly what the future will hold and how difficult this might become. From what I’ve learned so far, I believe that farms that actually grow organically, have no real excuse not to go through the certification process.
We believe that everyone has the right to know how their food is produced. We believe in complete transparency regarding our growing practices and invite anyone to come and see our operation any time. We also believe that receiving the USDA certification and being allowed to use the Official Organic seal in our labeling and advertising will give our customers peace of mind, and a trust in our principals and practices.
We will continue to blog about the certification process as it occurs. It is our understanding that the certification cannot be given until an inspector can visit our farm and examine the way we grow our produce and herbs. Unfortunately, this has to happen during the growing season, and that means the soonest we could expect approval would be next spring at the earliest. Stay tuned and visit our blog “The Urban Way” often for the latest updates.