As the demand for organic agriculture in our state grows, it is important that the public is able to easily find information and resources about certification. WSDA Organic Program is excited to formally announce a new section of their website, Interested in Organic Certification? Packed with resources, the new page features fact sheets and guides that have been developed to assist both existing and prospective organic operations, as well as educate programs and organizations that support organic businesses. The page also features projects produced in partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Services National Organic Program. The projects were developed with a common goal to make organic certification more accessible, attainable and affordable for organic operations while upholding the integrity and value of the organic label.
WSDA’s Sound and Sensible Organic Certification Video Series includes three videos: Steps to Certification provides an overview of the organic certification process; Preventive Practices describes activities and techniques that help farmers avoid crop pest, weed, and disease problems; and Record keeping gives instruction for developing and maintaining good record keeping practices. Filmed in Washington State and applicable to viewers across the country in both English and Spanish, videos provide viewers with a practical approach to ensuring compliance. Additional videos, focused on livestock and handling requirements, are being filmed this season and will be available online next spring.
Curious about the cost of certification and other licenses that may be required for a farm or facility producing organic products? Direct businesses to the WSDA Organic Certification Calculator to help estimate certification costs and evaluate other requirements and licenses needed to operate in Washington State. Once a producer or handler has an understanding of the costs involved, they can easily access application forms and additional resources online.
USDA’s National Organic Program is the regulatory program responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products. As the largest and oldest USDA-accredited state certifier in the nation the WSDA Organic Program has contributed to the success of the organic label in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Supported by fees from certified operations, the Organic Program currently certifies 1,160 organic growers, handlers and processors of organic products, and registers 850 input materials for use in organic production. Interest and support for organic products continues to grow, recently reaching $39 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. As demand pushes the supply of organic products, there is a need for increased production. As a leader in organic production and with support available to existing and aspiring organic operations, Washington State is well-positioned to meet this demand.