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National Organic Program
Information for State Organic Programs  
State Organic Programs provide the opportunity for a State to oversee its production and handling operations per the USDA organic regulations. State Organic Programs must assume regulatory enforcement responsibility for USDA organic operations statewide. State Organic Programs may also add more restrictive requirements due to specific environmental conditions or the necessity of production and handling practices in that State.

State Organic Programs Versus State Certifying Agents
State Organic Programs. Although there are many State agencies (typically Departments of Agriculture) that are certifying agents, there is currently one State Organic Program: California. In California, the State Organic Program administers enforcement activities and may add more restrictive requirements in accordance with the regulations. With state certifying agents, the USDA administers enforcement activities and the State agency may not add more restrictive requirements. In additional to being certified by any certifying agent on the list below, all organic operations in California must register with the State Organic Program.

Becoming a State Organic Program
To apply, a governing State official must submit a State Organic Program proposal containing the following information to the USDA. Propose a State Organic Program
  • Stateís statutory authority
  • Program description
  • Documentation of the Stateís environmental conditions or specific production and handling practices which necessitate more restrictive requirements than the National Organic Program regulations and how these amendments are consistent with the Organic Foods Production Act
  • Any additional information requested by USDA

Compliance & Enforcement
State Organic Programs are responsible for administering a compliance and enforcement program. In other states, this function is administered by the National Organic Program. If a non-compliance is identified, the certifying agent or State Organic Program must notify the operation in writing. If the operation fails to correct the non-compliance, appeal the certifierís decision, or otherwise resolve the problem, the certifying agent or State Organic Program may suspend or revoke the operationís organic certification. The distinction between suspension and revocation depends on the severity of the non-compliance. A suspended operation may not sell or represent their product as organic until it is reinstated in writing by the National Organic Program. A revoked operation (or a person responsible for one) may not obtain certification for five years. Learn more.
Report violation for operations in: California | Other States

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: 12/13/2011