Market Access Certification and Inspection

Organic is a labeling term for food or other agricultural products that have been produced using cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that support the cycling of on-farm resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity in accordance with the USDA organic regulations. This means that organic operations must maintain or enhance soil and water quality, while also conserving wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used. 

Any operation, or portion of operation, that produces or handles crops, livestock, livestock products, or other agricultural products that are intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as “100 percent organic,” “organic,” or “made with organic (specified ingredients or food group(s))” must be certified organic by a USDA accredited certification agency. Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is a USDA accredited certifying agent for crop production, handling, and, starting in 2017, livestock. 

Certain operations are exempt or excluded from needing certification in order to make an organic claim:

Exemptions

  • ​Operations that sell less than $5,000 worth of organic products annually
  • 
Retail food establishments

  • Processors that produce products with less than 70% organic ingredients
  • 
Processors that produce products that limit their organic claims to the information panel, or ingredient statement, of the label

Exclusions

Handlers that only handle packaged organic products (e.g. brokers, cold storage warehouses, grocery distributors) 

Steps to certification

  1. Read the most recent version of the NOP standards.
  2. Submit completed application forms and applicable fees to ODA (by April 1 each year for renewing applicants).
  3. ODA will review your application to determine compliance to the NOP standards and provide an estimate of your certification costs for the year.
  4. ODA will schedule an on-site inspection of your operation.
  5. ODA will conduct a final review of your application and inspection materials to complete the certification process.

ODA does not exclude from its certification programs any person, due to discrimination because of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.

Application requirements

All applicants

​All applicants must submit an spplication for organic certification form. This form needs to be submitted annually with an application payment. New applicants should also submit an Organic System Plan (OSP) for each product category they wish to have certified, as well as other applicable forms described below. Renewing applicants will be sent their OSP(s) to report changes as needed.

Crop producers

Please submit the following forms (as applicable) when applying for initial certification or when making mid-year changes to your operation:

Handlers and Processors

Please submit the following forms (as applicable) when applying for initial certification or when making mid-year changes to your operation:

Livestock

Please submit the following forms (as applicable) when applying for initial certification or when making mid-year changes to your operation:

Fees

All fees are nonrefundable, including the cost of services performed before and up to the date an application is withdrawn. Applicants may withdraw their application at any time, via written notification to ODA.

  • $250 first time applicant application fee 
  • $100 renewing applicant application fee 
  • $92 per hour for certification services, including review, inspection, and travel time 
  • Any travel costs required for your inspection, billed at rates established by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. These include mileage, lodging, and per diem. ​​
  • $50 late application fee​ for renewal applications submitted after the April 1st deadline.

Inspections

Certified organic operations are inspected at least once a year. ODA may conduct additional inspections:

  • To resolve an issue 
  • If a customer requests it 
  • As part of our surveillance program 

​These additional inspections are charged at the hourly rate described above.

Operations are required to notify their certifying agent if changes or events take place that may affect their compliance with the NOP standards. Examples of situations that would require you to notify ODA include the following:

  • A prohibited substance is applied to any field, production unit, product, parcel, or site involved in organic production, whether directly or indirectly, intentionally, or unintentionally.
  • You add acreage, a new field, a new greenhouse, a new product line, or a new production facility to your organic operation.
  • You remove a field or production facility, or a portion thereof, from organic production.
  • You develop a new retail label for your organic products.
  • You process or handle new organic products, not already listed in your OSP.
  • This list is not exhaustive. If a change to your operation could potentially affect your compliance with the NOP standards, please contact ODA to discuss these changes.

Basic Requirements

Crop producers

  • No prohibited substances may be applied to land for three years immediately prior to the harvest of an organic crop.
  • Organic seed and planting stock must be used if commercially available.

Processors and handlers

  • Organic forms of an ingredient must be used if commercially available.
  • Nonagricultural substances and conventionally produced agricultural products must be listed on the Code of Federal Regulations national list of allowed and prohibited substances.

Processing aids and post-harvest materials

  • Processing aids are substances used during processing that are either removed or are present in the finished product in insignificant levels (e.g. fruit waxes and defoamers).
  • Post-harvest materials are substances used on crops that are not processed (e.g. sanitizers and floating agents).

Resources

Application for Organic Certification Form

Application for Organic Certification Form

Electronic code of federal regulations

National Organic Program regulations

Greenhouse Addendum

Greenhouse Addendum

Input Inventory Form

Input Inventory Form

Leased Pasture Affidavit

Leased Pasture Affidavit

NOP Organic Insider

NOP Organic Insider

Organic Certification Fee Schedule

Organic Certification Fee Schedule

Organic Crops System Plan

Organic Crops System Plan

Organic Handling/Processing System Plan

Organic Handling/Processing System Plan

Organic Livestock Production System Plan

Organic Livestock Production System Plan

Organic Site Registration Form

Organic Site Registration Form

Pasture Management and Ruminant Feed Form

Pasture Management and Ruminant Feed Form

Previous Land Use Declaration Form

Previous Land Use Declaration Form

Product Formulation Form

Product Formulation Form

Product Formulation User's Guide

Product Formulation User's Guide

USDA National Organic Program Fact Sheets

Organic Program Fact Sheets

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​​Contact

Certification Services
635 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-986-4620
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