FAQ: Organic Production
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In an effort to answer your questions in a timely manner, I have decided to post a Frequently Asked Question Section. Before calling or emailing me, please check to see if your question has already been posted here. I apologize that this is rather impersonal, but I can’t even begin to answer all the emails and phone calls I receive now. Since I also need to leave time to do research, write, and speak, I hope you find this a useful alternative.
I Want Information on Organic Production
Q: CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENT. Someone told me that they had read on the Internet that a grower did not have to get certified if they sold under $5,000 worth of produce labeled as organic. I told them that I was not aware of this but would check with you.
A: If a farmer sells less than $5,000 worth of produce as organic, he/she does not need to be certified. He/she, however, must abide by all the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) rules to use the word “organic”. This is a way to allow small scale growers to participate in the organic industry but not have to pay for certification.
Q: CERTIFICATION AGENCIES. My clients are interested in getting certified and I recall you telling me that many folks in WNC use a company out of Florida to do their certification. Is that still true?
A: The three main certifying agencies used in North Carolina are the
- Where Food Comes From Organic (https://www.wfcforganic.com/)
- Oregon Tilth https://tilth.org/certification/, and
- Quality Certification Services (http://www.qcsinfo.org/) (part of Florida Organic Growers).
A few of the big companies, like Gaia Herbs, also use Oregon Tilth (http://www.tilth.org/) because they certify for international sales.
For the complete list of USDA Accredited Certifying Agents, go to http://tinyurl.com/4hv3ub.
Jeanine Davis, NC Alternative Crops & Organics Program, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University (updated 11/29/2021).