Certification is a way to confirm certain characteristics of a product or service. Examples include: Organic, Grass Fed, and Animal Welfare Approved. Most certifications are verified by an independent third party.
Why do agricultural enterprises pursue certifications?
- There is a price premium in the market available for products with the certification
- Customers and/or buyers in your market demand production practices meet certain standards
- A certification differentiates your produce to customers and buyers, and those customers and buyers use that as a criteria for their purchasing decisions
- Producers with common standards can be counted, which can lead to an allocation of more private and public resources to that producer community
Check out our Get Certified! page for our resources on organic certification including a step-by-step guide to certification, record-keeping templates, and a list of allowed and prohibited substances.
Tools to Assist with Organic Certification
- Organic System Plan Overview Brian Baker, Organic Materials Review Institute and Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota
- ATTRA: Organic System Plan Templates
- Organic Farming Compliance Handbook
- ATTRA: Forms and Documents for Organic Producers
- Carolina Farm Stewardship Association: Organic Vegetable Operation Record Keeping Systems
- ATTRA: National Organic Program—Compliance Checklist for Producers
- The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide you with a free, aerial, digital map of your farm, and digitally outline your fields so that you can map your farm at no cost. Find your local NRCS office here.
- ATTRA: Preparing for an Organic Inspection
- American Grassfed
- Animal Welfare Approved
- Certified Humane Raised and Handled
- Certified Naturally Grown. CNG is a non-profit organization offering certification tailored for small-scale, direct-market farmers and beekeepers using natural methods.
CNG was born of a commitment to healthy food and healthy soils, and grew out of the belief that we could create something uniquely valuable to family farms and the communities they feed. CNG was founded when the National Organic Program (NOP) took effect in 2002.
CNG producers don’t use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or GMO seeds, just like organic farmers. Certified Naturally Grown is an independent program not affiliated with the NOP. Find out more about their programs, resources, and requirements on their website.