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Organic Farmers

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Since 2002 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) has regulated the standards for farms that want to sell organic products. Farms that produce less than $5,000 worth of organic products per year are not required by the USDA to be certified. To receive the organic certification and use the official "USDA Organic" label, at least 95 percent of the ingredients must be organic and meet the USDA standards for organic production and processes. For some farmers, especially those at beginning and small farms, the USDA certification process can be expensive, and financial assistance may be required. The certification process also requires evidence of an organic farming plan, paperwork to verify the plan, and a certain number of farm inspections. Third-party agents are hired to conduct the inspections of the farmer, the farm, the production process, as well as all who work on the farm.

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