If so, you’re not alone! ICS for smallholder group certification makes it easier for organic smallholders to access third-party certification and organic markets. The USDA protects consumer options by protecting the organic seal. implementation of an Organic Handling Plan; may use mechanical or biological processing methods; no commingling or contamination of organic products during processing or storage; must use proactive sanitation and facility pest management practices to prevent pest infestations; must take steps to protect organic products and packaging from contamination, if pesticides are used in the processing facility; must keep records of all pesticide applications; must not use packaging materials that contain fungicides, preservatives, or fumigants; must use organic minor agricultural ingredients in products labeled “organic”, unless such ingredients appear on section 205.606 of the National List and are not commercially available from organic sources; must use approved label claims for “100% organic” (100% organic ingredients, including processing aids), “organic” (at least 95% organic ingredients), “made with organic ingredients” (at least 70% organic ingredients) and proper use of the word “organic” in ingredient list (less than 70% organic ingredients); and. The certifying agent reviews the application to verify that practices comply with USDA organic regulations. The certified organic label is a sign to consumers that the fruits or vegetables they are buying were grown in compliance with the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program, and that the farm complies with the rigorous standards that the government poses on any farming operation that seeks organic certification. More than 4.45 million ha area is under organic certification, comprising 1.44 million ha under cultivation … This overview is intended to provide an understandable introduction to the National Organic Program regulation and certification requirements. Parts of the regulation even apply to retailers. manure must be managed to prevent contamination of crops, water, and soil, and optimize the recycling of nutrients. OFPA was passed by Congress in 1990 to begin the process of resolving the differences and establishing one set of national standards. This will help you in building the reputation and confidence among your customers. Handlers that sell more than $5,000 of organic processed food, including handlers that place bulk products into smaller packages or that repackage/relabel products. The rule covers organic vegetable growers, orchardists, livestock producers, ranchers, processors, and handlers. Farms that sell more than $5,000 in organic products per year (gross sales). 3 years (36 months prior to harvest) with no application of prohibited materials (no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or GMOs) prior to certification; distinct, defined boundaries for the operation; proactive steps to prevent contamination from adjoining land uses; implementation of an Organic System Plan, with proactive fertility management systems; conservation measures; and environmentally sound manure, weed, disease, and pest management practices; monitoring of the operation’s management practices to assure compliance; use of natural inputs and/or approved synthetic substances on the National List, provided that proactive management practices are implemented prior to use of approved inputs; no use of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs), defined in the rule as ”excluded methods”; use of organic seeds, when commercially available (must not use seeds treated with prohibited synthetic materials, such as fungicides); use of organic seedlings for annual crops; restrictions on the use of raw manure and compost; must maintain or improve the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the soil, minimize soil erosion, and implement soil building crop rotations; fertility management must not contaminate crops, soil, or water with plant nutrients, pathogens, heavy metals, or prohibited substances; maintenance of buffer zones, depending on risk of contamination; prevent commingling on split operations (the entire farm does not have to be converted to organic production, provided that sufficient measures are in place to segregate organic from non-organic crops and production inputs); no field burning to dispose of crop residues (may only burn to suppress disease or stimulate seed germination – flame weeding is allowed); and. The regulation went into effect on October 21, 2002. The organic farming certification is done only when the product meets the minimum requirements set up by the national government. Though the NOP requirements are similar to previous organic standards, there are some significant differences, and there are areas of continued controversy, confusion, and clarification. INDOCERT is an … every stage of the produce is certified so as to avoid the presence of chemicals while production and packing. The USDA issued the first proposed rule in December, 1997. no residues of prohibited substances exceeding 5% of the EPA tolerance (certifier may require residue analysis if there is reason to believe that a crop has come in contact with prohibited substances or was produced using GMOs). All types of agriculture, horticulture and non-food crops are grown under organic certification process. The text of the rule, along with policy statements, program updates, a list of accredited certifying agents, complaint procedures, and other related information can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop. Read more . Review the “Additional Resources” to access some frequently asked questions and to learn about specialized guidance for the “exempt” or “excluded” operations. Most farms and businesses that grow, handle, or process organic products must be certified, including: Overall, if you make a product and want to claim that it or its ingredients are organic, your final product probably also needs to be certified. The Final Rule contains an extensive list of definitions, organic production and processing standards, and the “National List” of allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances. Small organic farms and businesses (gross agricultural income from organic sales less than $5,000 per year). If you're planning on growing and selling organic crops on your farmland, the land must meet the following two basic requirements: The land must be free from all prohibited substances on the National List for at least three years before the harvest of a crop. Having trouble understanding the requirements for organic certification? Organic certification applies to all business in the food production chain such as seed suppliers, retailers, food processors, etc.