News and Newsletters
NICS has a new space!
Since 2007, NICS has called the house on the hill at 224 State Highway 56 “home.” Last week, we said farewell as we moved into a new space on the other side of town. We both outgrew the house yet at the same time downsized our office as remote work is here to stay for many of our staff. Give us a call to schedule an appointment to come and see us: 608-637-7080
Please note that we also have a new mailing address!
PO Box 312, Viroqua, WI 54665
Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference: 2 Scholarship Admissions Available via Social Media!
Interested in attending a virtual conference this year? The Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference will be taking place virtually this year, February 2-6, 2022. Check them out on social media via Facebook here:
Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference
There will be 2 Scholarship Admissions available to NICS Certified Clients. Contact the Conference and let them know who you are, and that you followed the links from our social media accounts!
Let us know by tagging @NICSCert and using the hashtag #NMSFC22
For more information, click HERE
USDA Announces Deadline Extension for OTECP
The USDA has announced and extension of the application deadline for the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). The USDA will not be accepting applications until February 4, 2022.
The OTECP is providing pandemic assistance for certification and education expenses incurred for 2020 and 2021, and is available for producers that are certified organic or are transitioning to organic. OTECP builds on the USDA’s Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP).
Please Click Here for more information and application instructions.
NICS announces changes to 2022 application deadlines
As NICS continues to improve the services we provide to producers, we have decided to adjust our 2022 paperwork deadlines. This will allow us to maximize the number of producers we inspect earlier in the season, and help ensure certificates are delivered in a timely fashion.
New paperwork deadlines are staggered depending on the scope(s) requested. If multiple scopes are requested, paperwork is due by the earliest deadline stated below
2/1/2022: Maple syrup operations paperwork due
3/1/2022: Greenhouse operations paperwork due
4/1/2022: Crops, Livestock, and Processor/handler paperwork due
Please contact the office with any questions
USDA: Pandemic Support for Certified Organic and Transitioning Operations
USDA announces they will provide pandemic assistance for the coverage of certification and education expenses to those producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic. Eligible expenses include application fees, inspection fees, USDA organic certification costs, state organic program fees, and others. Please see links below for more information.
Full News Release
OTECP Information and Application
Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative
For more details, please visit www.farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance
Organic Cost Share Application
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection has announced that the 2021 Organic Cost Share Application through the USDA National Organic Program period is now open .
Certified Organic farms and businesses are eligible for 50% reimbursement-related costs.
Application materials and instructions can be found on the WI DATCP website, or by clicking the newsletter link below.
Deadline to apply is October 31, 2021.
Survey open to organic producers, those transitioning to organic
The Organic Farming Research Foundation and Organic Seed Alliance are looking for input from certified organic producers and producers transitioning to organic certification through an organic survey. The survey, which opened Feb. 18, is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded project seeking to learn more about the challenges and research priorities of organic farmers and ranchers, and those transitioning land to certified organic production.
Survey results will be published in updated versions of OFRF’s National Organic Research Agenda (NORA) report and OSA’s State of Organic Seed (SOS) report, both of which have been invaluable resources for ensuring research funding is relevant and responsive to the needs of organic producers, while also identifying where additional investment is necessary. By collaborating on these surveys, OFRF and OSA hope to reduce survey fatigue and increase grower participation.
The survey for transitioning producers is available at Organic survey
The survey for certified producers is available at Transitioning to organic survey
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It’s Producer Meeting Season!
Greetings! NICS is pleased to announce we will be hosting a number of producer meetings in January and February 2020. These meetings give us a chance to discuss upcoming rule changes, answer questions, assist you with your paperwork, and generally check in with you. NICS staff will be speaking on a variety of topics at some of the meetings this year, and we would love to hear from you soon if you have a specific topic you would like us to address at a meeting near you!
Bring your 2020 update application packet and take advantage of the $50 early bird discount for returning clients. We will bring additional packets with us for any parties who are interested in becoming certified with NICS. So, spread the word to your family members, friends, and neighbors who are interested in transitioning to organic production or becoming certified organic. Everyone is welcome.
Please RSVP by calling the NICS office at 608-637-7080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note, we may cancel a producer meeting if less than 10 people RSVP. We hope to see you at a meeting, and look forward to working with you this season.
Check out the Events section of our website for the complete 2020 Producer Meeting schedule.
P.S. You’ll also find the list of conferences NICS will be attending and the details for each.
Volume 3 – Winter 2020 Newsletter
Nature’s Focus: Winter 2020 Newsletter
Ecocert Group acquires NICS!
As many of you may remember, NICS lost our founder, Dave Engel, on March 14, 2017. He was an entrepreneur, farmer, and founding father of many certification agencies and related organic programs supporting the organic movement, just like many of you.
Upon Dave’s passing, his wife, Dr. Marta W. Engel, DVM, assumed ownership of NICS. Marta has worked alongside the NICS staff to keep the company moving forward so we could continue to be a part of your organic lives. She is soon to be 70 now, and has chosen to pass NICS to another family-owned organization, Ecocert, whom she believes will continue to uphold Dave’s legacy and the values NICS was founded upon.
“Ecocert is an ecologically minded company whose mission is a lot like NICS’s,” stated Marta. “With the new ownership NICS will be able to offer even better services to our organic farms and businesses, which have always been the lifeblood of our company.”
“We are delighted and excited to continue the work initiated by NICS’s founders and keep developing quality organic farming,” said Philippe Thomazo, CEO of Ecocert Group.
Ecocert Group also operates Ecocert ICO, an NOP-accredited certification agency in Plainfield, Indiana. The acquisition will not affect the organic certification of farms and businesses associated with NICS or Ecocert ICO, though many new certification options will soon become available to NICS clients as a result.
See the link to a letter from us and the official press release below.
Marta Engel (center) with Philippe Thomazo (right), CEO of Ecocert, and Vincent Morel (left),
Director of Americas for Ecocert.