What Does it Mean to Be Organic?
Organic farmers certified in organic production must meet all uniform requirements of the state and federal organic programs.
- Environmental stewardship by using practices that support the use of on-farm resources that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity;
- Practicing fertility and nutrient management to develop soil health by relying on natural materials like cover crops, manure, and compost;
- Creating pest management strategies that must employ preventative cultural practices prior to using any organic approved pesticides; and
- Limiting the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides to those few that are approved for use by organic operations and do not use sewage sludge, irradiation, or genetic engineering.
- Being certified organic signals to consumers that care is put into producing your crops while also protecting the health and biodiversity of your growing grounds.
- Being certified organic and qualifying to use the USDA Certified Organic Seal may also allow you to get a higher market value when your commodities are offered for sale.
Organic Registration for Producers/Handlers/Processors
Every person in California who wants to produce, handle, process, or sell raw agricultural products to be sold as organic, must register with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) prior to the first sale of their products. Every organic registrant must also annually renew their registration unless they are no longer engaged in the activities requiring organic registration. Organic registration is handled at the state and federal levels.
If you wish to register as an organic producer or need to renew your organic producer certification, please visit the CDFA Organic Program Website for more information:
CDFA – Organic Certification Registration & Renewal
In accordance with the California Organic Products Act of 2003 and the National Organic Program, if your annual gross sales are more than $5,000, you are required by law to be certified by USDA and a certifying agency. Please visit the USDA - Agricultural Marketing Service Branch for more information:
USDA – Agricultural Marketing Services Branch - “Becoming Certified Organic”
Organic Certification Agency List