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Organic Certification for Southern Farmers:
Risk Management Project


NCAT, IOTA and RMA-USDA logo RMA-USDA logo NCAT logo IOTA logo These project materials were developed through the support of USDA's Risk Management Agency Outreach program, in a collaborative effort between the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the Independent Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA). The project was designed to help certified and transitioning organic farmers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee minimize and manage risks associated with obtaining and maintaining organic certification.

NCAT and IOIA staff worked with organic producers, extension personnel, organic inspectors, and certification agencies to identify and prioritize organic production and certification risk factors. During 2005, project personnel attended conferences and presented workshops in the five-state region, engaging participants in practical exercises designed to help them understand organic management risks.

Materials developed through this project are designed to assist producers throughout the U.S. manage risks associated with transitioning and maintaining organic certification. PowerPoint presentations can be used by Cooperative Extension educators and other technical service providers as part of training programs on organic certification.

Note: Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs. Download Acrobat Reader.

Southern Organic Resource Guide
This reference handbook contains lists of certification agencies serving organic producers in the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee; international, national, and regional educational and outreach organizations serving organic producers; suppliers of inputs for organic farms; and an introduction to organic research. It also contains detailed state-by-state listings of state, university, and non-profit organizations serving organic producers, operations currently certified organic, and profiles of selected organic operations.

Forms, Documents, and Sample Letters for Organic Producers
This publication provides sample copies of some common forms, letters, maps, and other documents used by organic farmers and ranchers to retain certification in the National Organic Program. Producers can copy or adapt forms provided to document critical practices on their organic operation.

Training Materials

The following presentations can be viewed by producers and others for self-education. Cooperative Extension educators and other technical service providers can also use these presentations as part of training programs on organic certification.

Organic Standards and Certification Presentation [PDF/1.5MB]
This presentation provides an overview of the National Organic Program, the certification process, and organic crop production standards.

Determining and Documenting the Acceptability of Organic Farm Inputs [PDF/656KB]
Workshop Handout [PDF/1.2MB]
This workshop handout and accompanying presentation addresses major risk management areas for transitioning and experienced organic producers.

Preventing Contamination and Seeking Compensation [PDF/564KB]
Workshop Handout [PDF/1.9MB]
This workshop handout and accompanying PowerPoint presentation addresses methods for protecting organic operations from contamination by non-approved substances. It also discusses how to address contamination when it occurs.



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This page was last updated on: December 22, 2014