The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is accepting applications from existing organic accredited certifying agents (ACAs) interested in AMS accreditation to certify agricultural products as "Transitional". ACAs should submit their applications by February 28, 2017, for this National Certified Transitional Program (NCTP).
AMS provides voluntary, audit-based verification services to the agricultural industry to facilitate the marketing of agricultural products. In these services, AMS audits against established standards often set by a company, by industry, or a foreign government (in the case of export programs), and that standard is made publicly available to support transparency in the program. In this case, AMS will utilize a standard for transitional agricultural products that was developed by the Organic Trade Association.
This NCTP offers an opportunity for existing ACAs to certify producers and businesses to a consistent transitional standard utilized by the existing ACAs. This will facilitate the investment in transitional agriculture through a consistent set of rules, and ultimately support the continued growth of organic agriculture.
Applications will be accepted from ACAs through February 28, 2017. AMS will conduct desk reviews of the applications to ensure the ACAs are able to apply the NCTP, and then publish a list of approved ACAs no later than March 17, 2017. All eligible ACAs will be listed at the same time (approvals will not be granted on a “first come, first served” basis). Onsite verification will be conducted for this program during the ACA’s next scheduled audit. Application procedures for those ACAs not applying in the first window will be announced at a later date.
Please note that approval by the National Organic Program does not constitute approval for the NCTP. Therefore, interested ACAs should submit a completed application for service to the AMS Livestock, Poultry, and Seed (LPS) Program’s Quality Assessment Division (QAD), a cover letter that highlights they are requesting approval under the NCTP, and a program manual with procedures that detail how they will meet the standard. Visit www.ams.usda.gov/services/auditing/apply for more information about the standard, the application process, and to download the application for service.
Please contact Jeffrey Waite, Chief, Audit Services Branch, QAD, Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program by email Jeffrey.Waite@ams.usda.gov or by phone at (202) 720-4411 for additional information.