Organic certification is an auditing process that assures that organic growers and product manufactures abide by USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. The tracking begins on the farm with seed selection and soil management and continues through processing, handling, packing, and retail. Certification is conducted by 3rd party, federally accredited certifying agents (businesses, organizations, or state agencies).Download the Top Ten Reasons to trust the Organic Seal.
Do I have to get my organic garden or small farm certified in order to sell organic produce?
According to the NOP, producers and handlers (processors) that sell less than $5,000 a year in organic agricultural products do not need to be certified. Although not strictly enforced, these producers must abide by the national standards for organic products if they want to label their products as organic.
Be sure to ask your small, local farmer if they follow all of the organic standards.
Get CertifiedSearch the list of NOP accredited certifying agents.
List shows domestic (U.S.) and international agents.
How much does it cost to get certified?
Annual certification and inspection fees vary depending on the organic certification agent. According to the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), small farms and processors are routinely certified for between $400 and $1000. Check with your local certifying agent (see link above) for exact costs.
Are there any cost saving programs?
In order to make certification more affordable the NOP created the Organic Certification Cost Share Program which reimburses eligible producers and handlers for a portion of the costs of organic certification.Download a National Organic Program Fact Sheet.
For more information, or to talk to someone about organic certification, visit CCOF a full-service organic certification and trade association or organic certification agency, Quality Assurance International (QAI).CCOF Main Office Location: 2155 Delaware Avenue, Suite 150, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Phone: (831) 423-2263 Fax: (831) 423-4528 firstname.lastname@example.org
Quality Assurance International:9191 Towne Centre Drive, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92122 Phone: (858) 200-9708 www.qai-inc.com