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Organic Certification

An increasing number of farms and food businesses are pursuing organic certification for access to the organic market.  “Each production or handling operation or specified portion of a production or handling operation must be certified if it produces or handles crops, livestock, livestock products, or other agricultural products intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as “one hundred percent organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s)).” (7 CFR 205.101, National Organic Program). The State of Washington has adopted the National Organic Program (NOP) as its organic food law. Operations that sell only directly to the consumer and have gross annual sales less than $5000 are exempt from certification but still must follow all the rules for certification (including recordkeeping) if they represent their product as “organic.”

Many resources are available to help understand the certification process (see below). Any USDA accredited certifier can be used in any state. In Washington, the WSDA Organic Food Program certifies over 90% of the organic acres. Both WSDA and OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) maintain Brand Name Material Lists to help growers and processors choose inputs that are in compliance with the NOP.

Featured Publications

Organic Crop Production Certification Fact Sheet

Additional Publications

Material Registration for Organic Production – Winter 2008

Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter

Organic Farming Compliance Handbook: A Resource Guide for Western Region Agricultural Professionals

Produced by UC Davis, OMRI, WSU, OSU, and NMSU as part of a SARE PDP grant. January 2005.

Organic Certification in the United States and Europe – March 2004

Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter

Organic Livestock: Principles, Practices, and Prospects

Videostream of October 29, 2004 WSU Satellite broadcast.

National Organic Agriculture Standards: What do they mean for you?

Video stream of March 21, 2003 WSU Satellite broadcast.

Organic Certification Available for Many Agroforestry Products – January 2003

Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter

Organic Resource Manual

SARE Project EW-96.006 and WSDA Organic Food Program. 1999.

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