USDA Accreditation of the Certified Transitional Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (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.  

The Certified Transitional Program offers an opportunity for existing Accredited Organic Certifying Agencies (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.  

AMS will accept applications from existing ACAs interested in AMS accreditation to certify agricultural products as "Transitional".  ACAs should submit their applications by February 28, 2017.  

For the first round of approvals, AMS will conduct desk reviews of the applications to ensure the ACAs are able to apply the Transitional Certification Program, 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.  

Please note that approval by NOP does not constitute approval for the Transitional Certification Program.  Therefore, interested ACAs should submit a completed application for service to AMS, a cover letter that highlights they are requested approval under the Transitional Certification Program, and a program manual with procedures that detail how they will meet that standard. Visit the How to Apply page for more information about the standard, application process and to download the application for service.  

Please contact Jeffrey Waite, Chief, Audit Services Branch, Quality Assessment Division; LP Program, by email Jeffrey.Waite@ams.usda.gov or by phone at 202-720-4411 for additional information.  

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