If you want to know how to get USDA organic certified, you have come to the right place. Here, we will outline the five-step process required to become certified organic. We will also provide some helpful tips on how to get USDA certified that will assist you along the way. Keep reading for more information!
What is a USDA certification?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a government organization that offers direction on matters relating to food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related topics. Additionally, it oversees the certification of organic enterprises under the National Organic Program (NOP).
To receive certification from the USDA, organic farmers and processors must follow the NOP’s standards and guidelines. These standards cover everything from how organic crops are grown to how organic products are processed and packaged.
Organic certification is voluntary, but it is required if you want to sell your products as USDA Certified Organic. Certification is also necessary if you want to use the USDA Organic Seal on your products. Follow the five steps below if you are interested in becoming certified organic.
Step One: Check to See If You Fit the Requirements
To qualify for certification, your operation must be situated within the United States or one of its territories.
Your operation must also fall into one of the following categories:
– Agricultural products that are produced using organic methods.
– Wild crops are collected from their natural environment.
– Livestock that is raised according to organic standards.
– Processed products that are made using only organic ingredients.
If your operation meets the above criteria, then you are eligible to become certified organic.
Step Two: Choose a Certification Entity
A certification entity is an organization the USDA has accredited to certify operations as organic.
There are many different certification entities to choose from, so it is important to do your research and select the one that is right for you. When choosing a certification entity, you should consider location, cost, and services offered.
Step Three: Submit an Application
Once you have selected a certification entity, you must apply. The application will ask for basic information about your operation, such as your contact information and the products you produce.
You must also submit a copy of your organic system plan. Your organic system plan is a document that outlines how you produce your organic products. It should include information on your farming or processing methods, as well as your organic inputs and pest management practices.
Step Four: Undergo an On-Site Inspection
After your application has been reviewed and approved, a certification officer will conduct an on-site inspection of your operation. The purpose of the inspection is to verify that you comply with the NOP’s standards and guidelines.
The certification officer will also collect samples of your organic products for testing. These tests confirm that your products meet the USDA’s organic standards.
Once you have passed the inspection and your products have been tested, you will be issued a certification certificate. This certificate lists the products you are certified to sell as USDA Certified Organic.
You will also be provided with a copy of the NOP’s standards and guidelines and your certification entity’s rules and regulations. It is important to keep these documents in a safe place, as you will need to refer to them often.
Congratulations! You are now officially USDA Certified Organic.
Importance of a USDA Certification
1. You will be able to market your goods as organic and use the USDA Organic Seal on your packaging after receiving this certification. It is an important asset that will enable you to establish your products apart from those of your non-organic rivals.
2. It is an effective marketing tool. The USDA Organic Seal is a way to demonstrate to consumers that your products meet their standards as their interest in buying organic products increases.
3. Certification can also help you access new markets and sell your products at a higher price. It can also give you a competitive advantage over non-certified organic operations.
4. Certification is an ongoing process that requires continuous compliance with the NOP’s standards and guidelines. This commitment to quality control supports the preservation of the USDA Organic Seal’s integrity and guarantees that customers can put their trust in the products that bear it.
5. Many retailers and food service providers require their suppliers to be certified organic. This certification can help you expand your customer base and grow your business
Tips on How to Get USDA Certified
The process of becoming USDA-certified organic can seem daunting, but there are a few things that you can do to make it go more smoothly.
Start the process early
It can take several months to complete, so giving yourself plenty of time is important.
Prepare for your on-site inspection
This is the most important part of the certification process, so you will want to ensure that your operation complies with all of the NOP’s standards and guidelines.
Keep good records
Throughout the certification process, you will be required to submit a lot of documentation. Keeping good records will help ensure you have everything you need.
Becoming USDA-certified organic is a multi-step process, but it is well worth the effort. If you are interested in selling your products as organic, the five steps outlined above will be of much assistance. And remember, if you have any questions about the process, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help. Good luck!