State Organic Programs provide the opportunity for a state to oversee organic production and handling operations within its state. An authorized State Organic Program must assume regulatory enforcement responsibility of the USDA organic regulations for all organic farms and businesses operating within its boundaries. Upon approval by the USDA National Organic Program, State Organic Programs may add more restrictive requirements due to specific environmental conditions or a need for specialized production and handling practices in that State.
State Organic Programs Versus State Certifying Agents
Over a dozen states are accredited by the USDA as certifying agents authorized to provide organic certification services to producers and handlers operating in their state. However, there is currently only one State Organic Program: California.
The State of California does not provide organic certification. Instead, the California State Organic Program oversees and enforces the USDA organic regulations within California. The California State Organic Program provides:
- Spot inspections
- Sampling and testing
- Complaint management
- Investigations and enforcement actions
- Civil penalties
Read more about the California State Organic Program