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National Organic Program
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National Organic Program
Information for Organic Operations  
Certification allows a farm or processing facility to sell, label, and represent their products as organic. This process is managed by a certifying agent: a private, foreign, or State entity authorized by USDA to certify an operation as USDA organic.*

Transitioning to Organic
Considering becoming an organic operation? We invite you to learn more about the requirements and process.

Financial Assistance
The USDA administers multiple grant programs to provide financial assistance to U.S.-based producers and handlers. One option, the USDA Organic Certification Cost Share Programs, provides non-competitive rebates to cover up to 75% of organic certification costs. Learn more.

Compliance & Enforcement
All USDA organic operations are required to comply with all National Organic Program regulations. If a non?compliance is identified during an inspection or investigation, the operation is notified in writing. If an operation fails to correct the non?compliance, appeal the certifier’s decision, or otherwise resolve the problem, their organic certification is suspended or revoked. The distinction between these outcomes depends on the severity of the noncompliance. A suspended operation may not sell or represent their product as organic until it is reinstated in writing. A revoked operation or a responsibly connected person may not obtain certification for five years. Learn more.

Importing and Exporting Organic Products
Organic operations have access to the following international markets through organic trade arrangements. The specific requirements vary for each arrangement.

Temporary Variances
USDA may grant temporary variances from the production and handling requirements of the organic regulations in specific instances. Please send requests to your certifying agent.

USDA-Wide Services

Organic Market News. Market News reports market information, including price, supply, demand, and movement of various commodities. Learn more.

Grading Services. USDA provides grading services for a wide range of agricultural commodities. Learn more.

PACA License. The Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) requires licenses for any person who buys or sells more than 2,000 pounds of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables in any given day. Learn more.

Federal Research and Promotion Programs. These programs are designed to promote specific agricultural commodities. Producers that produce and market only commodities eligible for a “100 percent organic” label are exempt from paying the assessment. There may be different state programs, which may not have the same exemptions. Learn more.

*Please note that operations in California must also register with the State Organic Program.

Training Resources
While the online training materials are intended for certifying agents, they may be helpful resources for other audiences. Please note that online training modules do not count towards accreditation or certification. Learn more.

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  Last Modified Date: 05/05/2014