Organic growers in North Carolina can apply for partial reimbursement of the cost of becoming certified or re-certified producers through a program offered by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Growers who are certified or re-certified after Sept. 30, 2009, can apply for assistance. The program will pay 75 percent of the cost of certification, up to $750.

The program is for the 2009-2010 season, and is funded through a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the deadline to apply for reimbursement is Sept. 30, 2010.

For information contact Kevin Hardison, 1020 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C .27699-1020.

Growers with questions can call Hardison at (919) 733-7887.

“As consumer interest in certified products has grown, so has the number of organic producers statewide,” Hardison said. “North Carolina has more than 6,000 certified organic acres, and these farms produce a variety of vegetables, livestock, herbs and other products.”