Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Regulations and procedures of the certified National Organic Program

Authors
item Roberts, B - OSU, LANE,OK
item Taylor, Merritt - OSU, LANE,OK
item Shrefler, James - OSU, LANE,OK
item Edelson, Jonathan - OSU, LANE,OK
item Webber, Charles
item Bruton, Benny
item Pair, Sammy

Submitted to: Horticulture Industries Show
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 4, 2005
Publication Date: April 1, 2005
Citation: Roberts, B.W., Taylor, M.J., Shrefler, J.W., Edelson, J.V., Webber III, C.L., Bruton, B.D., Pair, S.D. 2005. Regulations and procedures of the certified National Organic Program. Proceedings of the 24th Annual Horticulture Industries Show. p. 179-181.

Interpretive Summary: Interest and production of organic crops continues to increase in the United States, and has resulted in the development of the National Organic Program (NOP). This program was designed to standardize organic certification programs among all the states, and to provide a uniform method for an organic producer to achieve certification. The NOP is a comprehensive program that addresses not only the desire to produce safe and nutritious food, but also to protect and improve the environment. A major objective of the program is to assure that sound management techniques are used in all aspects of production. Growers should at all times strive to protect the soil, minimize erosion, protect and improve water quality, and increase soil organic matter. When a potential certified producer develops an organic plan, he must describe how he intends to meet the requirements of the various segments of the NOP. It must describe the crops to be grown, the techniques to be used in crop production, and the steps that will be taken to insure integrity of the products. This plan must be presented to a certifying agent for approval. In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) is the only approved certifying agent. The land being used for organic production must not have received any prohibited materials for the three years immediately prior to harvest of the organic commodity. It is important to realize that the NOP is a process based, rather than a product based, certification program. Soil fertility and crop nutrition for an organic farm should be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, cover crops, and animal and crop waste materials. NOP describes the parameters and details for the acceptable use of animal manures and composts. Procedures should minimize or prevent soil erosion, and should not contaminate crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or residues of prohibited substances. Pest prevention and control should be carried out primarily through management practices, including physical, mechanical, and biological. Sanitation measures that remove disease vectors, weed seeds, and habitat for pest organisms should be used. Plant varieties with resistance to pests, weeds, and diseases should be selected. When these practices are not sufficient for pest control, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance that is already on the approved list of organic materials may be used. Once a farmer is approved as a certified organic producer, the certification will remain in effect until terminated, either voluntarily or through some type of enforcement process. Annual certification updates will be required, but when approved, will be seen as an extension of the original certification, rather than as a new certification.

Technical Abstract: The National Organic Program (NOP) became effective in October of 2002. This program was designed to standardize organic certification programs among all the states, and to provide a uniform method for an organic producer to achieve certification. The NOP is a comprehensive program that addresses not only the desire to produce safe and nutritious food, but also to protect and improve the environment. A major objective of the program is to assure that sound management techniques are used in all aspects of production. Growers should at all times strive to protect the soil, minimize erosion, protect and improve water quality, and increase soil organic matter. When a potential certified producer develops an organic plan, he must describe how he intends to meet the requirements of the various segments of the NOP. It must describe the crops to be grown, the techniques to be used in crop production, and the steps that will be taken to insure integrity of the products. This plan must be presented to a certifying agent for approval. In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) is the only approved certifying agent. The land being used for organic production must not have received any prohibited materials for the three years immediately prior to harvest of the organic commodity. It is important to realize that the NOP is a process based, rather than a product based, certification program. Soil fertility and crop nutrition for an organic farm should be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, cover crops, and animal and crop waste materials. NOP describes the parameters and details for the acceptable use of animal manures and composts. Procedures should minimize or prevent soil erosion, and should not contaminate crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or residues of prohibited substances. Pest prevention and control should be carried out primarily through management practices, including physical, mechanical, and biological. Sanitation measures that remove disease vectors, weed seeds, and habitat for pest organisms should be used. Plant varieties with resistance to pests, weeds, and diseases should be selected. When these practices are not sufficient for pest control, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance that is already on the approved list of organic materials may be used. Once a farmer is approved as a certified organic producer, the certification will remain in effect until terminated, either voluntarily or through some type of enforcement process. Annual certification updates will be required, but when approved, will be seen as an extension of the original certification, rather than as a new certification. Thus, a grower with continued annual updates will be able to show that he has been certified continuously since the first date of certification.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page