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Organic Certification of Farms and Businesses Producing Agricultural Products

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By Ann Baier, NCAT, and Lisa Ahramjian, NOP

Published: 2002

Updated: November 2012



8 pages


This publication provides an overview of USDA organic certification and provides some additional resources for prospective organic farms and businesses.

Table of Contents

What is organic?
What is organic certification?
Who needs to be certified?
What types of products are eligible for organic certification?
Why is certif ication required?
How do I pick a certifying agent?
Is there a transition period?
How much does organic certification cost?
How often does my certification need to be renewed?
How are the certifying agent and inspector related?
What does the inspector typically look for?
What happens if an operation violates the USDA Organic Regulations?
Can I use the USDA organic seal?
What about other labeling claims?
Once certified, can I export USDA organic products to another country?

Note: Digital downloads are in full color. Printed, mailed copies are only available in black & white.


This page was last updated on: May 7, 2019