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#30 Organic Certification

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Becoming Certified

Organic production offers many advantages for small farmers including ecologically friendly production methods, strong consumer demand for organic products, and higher prices.  Regardless of whether you use organic practices, if you have farm sales of more than $5,000/year you cannot legally sell your products as organic unless your farm has been officially certified.

If you sell less than $5,000/year of product and would like to use the word “organic” in your marketing, you must adhere to organic practices even though there is no certification process required. To learn more about this, download the PDF of Small Scale Organics from www.kerrcenter.com/publications/small-scale-organics.pdf

You can find the list of all certifying agencies by going to the USDA’s National Organic Program website: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop. Click “List of Certifying Agents.” You can use any agency listed. The two located in New York are:

NOFA — New York, LLC 840 Upper Front St.
Binghamton, NY 13905
607-724-9851
E-mail: Website: www.nofany.org
Scope: crop, livestock, handling
Accredited: 4/29/02
Natural Food Certifiers 119a S Main Street,
Spring Valley, NY 10977
888-422-4632
E-mail: Website: www.nfccertification.com
Scope: crop, livestock, wild crop, handling
Accredited: 10/08/02

General Overview of Regulations

Organic regulations are complex and ever-changing, which is why it is important to work with your certifying agency on everything that you do to assure compliance.

In general, you cannot use synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, or petroleum-based fertilizers.  To certify a field as organic it must not have had pesticides or petroleum fertilizers applied for the past three years.  To certify animals as organic, there are various transition requirements depending upon the animal species: dairy, beef, pork, poultry, etc.

Great attention is paid to nurturing the soil by the use of composts, cover crops, rock minerals and natural fertilizers. Plant disease and pests are controlled through the use of crop rotations, resistant varieties, cultivation, and biological and botanical pest control. Animal health is maintained with wholesome food, adequate shelter, access to the outdoors, and preventive health plans.

Documentation of field maps, adjoining fields, complaints, crop inputs used, yields, sales, feeds purchased, medications used, and equipment-cleaning logs must be kept to maintain your certification.

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Comments

One thought on “#30 Organic Certification

  1. Dennis says:

    Hello,
    Great information thank you. I think we meet every requirement to become certified organic. Reccently we found a bunch of Ginseng on our properties. We would like to start a ginseng farm with our many acres of untouched/natural forests. With American Ginseng becoming an endangered plant and the natural forest doing the work this should be easy. Also I would like to harvest and sell a portion this year(more than $10,000 this year to fund this project. If you have any ideas or suggestions to get us started sooner we would be greatfull as the seeds need to be planted this fall. I truly hope the paperwork and certification can be completed in time for September. Thank you for your time and hoping to read a knowledgeable reply soon. Also feel free to email me

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