View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new iOS app!Introducing SlideShare for AndroidExplore all your favorite topics in the SlideShare appGet the SlideShare app to Save for Later — even offline
View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new Android app!View stunning SlideShares in full-screen with the new iOS app!
(continued from page 1) lot-number of ﬂour. They contacted the supplier and asked not to be sold that particular lot- number of ﬂour in the future. Their bread quality quickly returned to its usual high standards. Dairy farmers describe how their record keeping helped them maintain healthier herds and good milk production, after their ﬁrst year of organic certiﬁcation. • Gary and Patricia Belli of Belli Dairy in Ferndale, California, noticed a drop in their herd’s milk production. They were keeping track of their purchases of organic feed, with lot numbers and amounts delivered from various sources. By looking at their feed purchase records, they could see the relationship between the decrease in production and the time when they used feed from a certain source. They asked their supplier to avoid a feed lot that appeared to be of poor quality. When they resumed feeding better quality feed from other lots, their milk production problem was solved. • Robin and Maralyn Renner (brother and sister) manage Diamond R Ranch in Ferndale, Califor- nia. They run the family dairy and raise organic beef. They described how much healthier their herd was once they began operating as a certiﬁed organic operation. Organic certiﬁcation required that they keep accurate and more detailed records. They said that after working with these records for several months, “We began to recognize patterns.” Better records helped them to connect the dots. They saw correlations and discerned causes and consequences.Related ATTRA They improved their organic production system by putting what they learned into practice.Publications When I spoke with him recently, Robin reiterated what Maralyn had articulated a year or two earlier: there are practical beneﬁts to keeping the records required for organic certiﬁcation.Preparing for an Their cows are healthier and they have better farm management. “We’re glad we did it, “ heOrganic Inspection: said. “Every year gets better.”Steps and Checklists –Ann Baier, organic inspectorNCAT’s Organic CropWorkbookNCAT’s Organic Purposes and Beneﬁts of Benefits of the inspection process for organic certiﬁcation include the following.Livestock Workbook the Organic Inspection • Building consumer confidence in the The organic inspection doesn’t need to be meaning of the organic label scary, stressful, or onerous. The inspec- tion process can be useful to producers of • Fulﬁlling requirements to get or main- crops or livestock, and processors or han- tain organic certiﬁcation dlers of agricultural products. The organic • Improving farm record-keeping systems inspection is a unique opportunity because and keeping up-to-date records it involves the most face-to-face contact • Providing an opportunity to better under- between the producer or handler and an stand organic standards inspector who works for the certiﬁer. • Getting updated information about allowed Organic certiﬁers conduct annual inspec- and prohibited materials tions of all their clients (certiﬁed parties) • Learning about public educational to verify, through on-site review of actual opportunities or sources of informa- activities and the corresponding records, tion and technical assistance avail- that the clients are in compliance with the able through your certiﬁer, Cooperative relevant organic standards. Every USDA- Extension, local farm organizations, or accredited certiﬁcation agency must make industry networks. (Please note that this annual inspections. Most inspections are is not part of the inspection, but an inci- scheduled with the client in advance; how- dental beneﬁt. The role of the inspector ever, some inspections are unannounced. is discussed below.) This publication will help you incorporate management practices that will keep you The steps that help you prepare for your prepared for an inspection at any moment. inspection for organic certiﬁcation will also help you maintain healthy farming systems and viable business practices.Page 2 ATTRA Organic Certiﬁcation Process
Steps to Organic integrity (with regard to borders and buffers, application, planting and har-Certiﬁcation vest equipment, post-harvest handlingStep 1: Selection of a certiﬁer and storage), planting, production, har- vest and sales records, monitoring sys-The producer or handler chooses a certi- tems, and product labeling.ﬁer and requests an application packet.USDA-accredited certification agencies • Livestock Production: Source of animals,(ACAs or certiﬁers) are listed on the NOP feed and feed supplements, descriptionWeb site (www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Certifying of housing and living conditions, healthAgents/Accredited.html). All USDA-accred- care practices and materials, manage-ited certiﬁers—whether private (non-proﬁt ment practices (i.e., access to the out-or for-proﬁt) or governmental—certify to doors and pasture for ruminants), physi-the same USDA National Organic Stan- cal alterations, manure management,dards. Some certiﬁers, however, are bet- record-keeping system, and productter recognized in the organic industry/mar- labeling.ketplace, and some may offer certiﬁcation • Handling Operations: Sources of ingre-to additional standards—such as Interna- dients and processing aids, materialstional Foundation for Organic Agriculture and standard operating procedures for(IFOAM), European Union (EU), Japanese cleaning, sanitation, and pest control,Agricultural Standards (JAS), Conseil des measures to protect organic integrityappellations agroalimentaires du Québec (prevention of commingling and contam-(CAAQ), Biodynamic, GAP, Kosher, or Fair ination), packaging, record-keeping sys-Trade—while other certiﬁcation agencies tem, product formulations, and productmay provide services such as newsletters, labeling.workshops, or educational opportunities.Consider your marketing needs—whetheryour approach to marketing requires veriﬁ-cation of compliance to other standards—as An Organic System Planwell as your personal interests. should include informa- tion about management practices such as ani-Step 2: Application and submission mals’ access to pastureof an organic systems plan and outdoors. The pastured layer hensThe producer or handler submits an appli- at left belong to Paul andcation and an Organic System Plan (OSP) Leti Hain of Tres Pinos,to the certiﬁcation agency, using the certiﬁ- California. Photo by Ann Baier.er’s forms and guidelines and attaching anyrequested documentation, licensing agree-ments, and fees. The OSP consists of writtenplans and relevant information concerning Step 3: Application and Organicall aspects of your operation. Following are System Plan Review by the Certiﬁersome examples of required information. The certiﬁer reviews the Organic System• Crop Production: Land use history doc- Plan (OSP) and accompanying documenta- umentation, field maps, crop rotation tion for completeness and assesses the appli- plans, soil improvement and pest man- cant’s capacity to operate an NOP-compli- agement plans, seed sources, material ant operation. The certiﬁer determines that inputs (soil amendments, fertilizers, com- the operation can meet the requirements post, manure, pest control materials, or for certiﬁcation as outlined in the OSP. The any other materials) used and planned certiﬁer will then assign a qualiﬁed organic for use, measures to maintain organic inspector to do an on-site inspection.www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 3
pests, water systems (for irrigation and post-harvest handling), storage areas, and equipment. • The livestock inspector inspects feed production and purchase records, feed rations, animal living conditions, pre- ventative health management practices (vaccinations and other medications cur- rently being used or planned for future use), and health records. The inspector observes and assesses the animals’ con- dition. • The handler or processing inspector inspects the facility and evaluates theOrganic inspectors receiving, processing, and storage areasassess the adequacy of used for organic ingredients and ﬁnishedprocedures to prevent products. Critical control points are ancontamination.Photo by Ann Baier. essential part of any handling opera- tion and its inspection. The inspector analyzes potential hazards and assesses Step 4: Organic inspection organic control points—the adequacy of procedures to prevent contamination Organic inspections come prior to ini- (from sanitation supplies, pest manage- tial certiﬁcation, then annually thereafter. ment materials, or non-organic process- The inspection must occur when a person ing aids), and to prevent commingling knowledgeable about the operation is pres- with non-organic ingredients. ent, and should occur where and when the crops, livestock, and/or processing or other At the end of the inspection, the inspec- handling can be observed. tor conducts an exit interview with the inspected party to conﬁrm the accuracy The Inspection Preparation Checklists in and completeness of the inspector’s observa- the ATTRA publication Preparing for an tions. The inspector will review any requests Organic Inspection: Steps and Checklists pro- for additional information and any issues of vide a detailed description of the documen- potential non-compliance with respect to the tation required for the three major types of National Organic Standards. The inspector operations: crops, livestock, and handling. provides the inspected party with a written In all three types of operations, the organic copy of the exit interview before leaving the inspector conducts an on-site inspection inspection. The inspector then provides a and review of record keeping to verify that report to the certiﬁer. The inspector reports the OSP accurately reﬂects your operation his or her observations only and does not and is in compliance with NOP standards. make the certiﬁcation decision. Records to be veriﬁed include input materi- als, production, harvest and sales records, Step 5: Review of the inspection as well as appropriate product packaging report by the certiﬁer and labeling. The inspector assesses the risk of contamination from prohibited materials, The certifier will review the report and and may take soil, tissue, or product sam- determine whether the operation is eligi- ples as needed. ble for organic certiﬁcation. The ﬁnal deci- sion is then communicated in writing to • The farm (crop) inspector inspects ﬁelds, the client seeking certiﬁcation, along with soil conditions, crop health, approaches any requirements for initial or continu- to management of weeds and other crop ing certiﬁcation. The certiﬁer may requestPage 4 ATTRA Organic Certiﬁcation Process
further information or remediation, or issue approved by the certiﬁer), b) whether thea notice of noncompliance, if the operation practices and inputs are in compliance withis not in full compliance with all pertinent the USDA National Organic Standard, andorganic standards. Signiﬁcant noncompli- c) whether those practices and inputs areances may result in denial or revocation of adequately documented. The certiﬁer thencertiﬁcation and/or require correction prior makes the certiﬁcation decision based onto organic certiﬁcation or renewal. Minor information provided in the OSP, the inspec-non-compliance issues are those that do not tion report, and associated documents.threaten the integrity of the organic prod- The inspector can do the following:ucts. (For example, procedures are properlycarried out but inadequately documented.) • provide information about the certiﬁca-The notice will cite the issues of concern tion processand specify the time by which the opera- • answer general questions about organiction must remedy the noncompliance and standards and requirementsprovide documentation of the remediation • explain the range of practices and/orto the certiﬁer. record keeping that the certiﬁer considers sufﬁcient to show complianceStep 6: Organic certiﬁcation • make referrals to pub-A certificate of organic certification is lic sources of information,issued if the operation is determined to be such as Cooperative Exten-compliant under the NOP (and any other sion services, USDA agen-applicable) standards. Upon issuance of cies, farm organizations,the organic certiﬁcate, the operation may trade associations, andbegin selling its products as organic. Prod- ATTRA’s toll-free line anduct labels must identify the certiﬁer (“Cer- publicationstiﬁed organic by…”) beneath the name andidentifying information of the producer or The inspector cannot serve ashandling company. Use of the USDA and/ your advisor or consultant. Theor the certiﬁer’s seal is optional. The certi- inspector may not recommend spe-ﬁed party should review the details of label- ciﬁc products, practices, animaling in NOP section 205.300-311, and ask or plant varieties, or give advicethe certiﬁer to review any labels prior to for overcoming identiﬁed barriersprinting. All certiﬁed operations must be to certiﬁcation. The inspector mustinspected annually. not hold a commercial interest in the business being inspected, provide paidThe Role of the Organic consulting services, accept gifts, favors, or The organic inspector payments other than the prescribed inspec- can refer clientsInspector tion fee. Finally, the inspector does not to sources of informa-The “inspector” is not the same as the “cer- tion about organic make the certiﬁcation decision. Any of the compliance.tiﬁer.” It is important for the producer or above constitutes a conﬂict of interest that Photo by Ann Baier.handler to have clear expectations about is strictly prohibited by law, as described inthe role of the inspector—what services he NOP Section 205.501.or she can and cannot provide. As noted in The certiﬁed entity can be assured that theStep 4: Organic Inspection, the primary role inspector has signed both a conﬂict of inter-of the inspector is to gather on-site informa- est and a conﬁdentiality agreement with thetion and provide an accurate report to the certiﬁer to protect all proprietary informa-certiﬁer. The inspector veriﬁes a) whether tion of the inspected operation.observations of an operation’s daily prac-tices are consistent with the client’s Organic Even when you take into consideration theSystem Plan (previously submitted to and limitations of the inspector (as describedwww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 5
above), the inspection can still be a useful opportunity questions you have, in particular about the certiﬁcationto expand your knowledge of organic requirements, the process and where to go for assistance in answeringprocesses necessary to meet those requirements, and further questions. To avoid potential conﬂicts of inter-associated information. As you prepare for your inspec- est, please be aware of the limitations on the role oftion, you might ﬁnd it helpful to make notes of any your inspector.ResourcesThe National Organic Program (NOP) International Organic Inspection Manual IFOAM andwww.ams.usda.gov/nop IOIA, December 2000. Order from:Organic Materials Review Institute Independent Organic Inspector’s Associationwww.OMRI.org (IOIA)International Federation of Organic P.O. Box 6Agriculture Movements Broadus, MT 59317-0006www.ifoam.org 406-436-2131 telephone/FAX firstname.lastname@example.orgBiodynamic Farming and Gardening Association www.ioia.netwww.biodynamic.org.nz/demeter.html Acknowledgements Thanks to Brian Magaro and Lois Christie, organic inspectors who provided their pre-inspection letters as resources for developing this publication. Appreciation to the following reviewers: Lois Christie, Fiesta Farms Doug Crabtree, Montana Department of Agriculture, Organic Certiﬁer George Kuepper, Program Specialist, NCAT Nancy Matheson, Program Specialist, NCAT Jim Riddle, Organic Independents Jeﬀ Cunningham, Organic InspectorPage 6 ATTRA Organic Certiﬁcation Process