- "ORGANIC STANDARDS EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 21. The USDA has put in
place a set of national standards that food labeled as "organic"
must meet, whether it is grown in the United States or imported from
other countries. When buying food labeled as "organic", it
was produced using the highest organic production and handling standards
in the world. Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the
use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to
enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat,
poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no
antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using
most conventional pesticides; petroleum-based fertilizers or sewage
sludge-based fertilizers; bio-engineering; or ionizing radiation. Before
a product can be labeled "organic", a government-approved
certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the
farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards.
Companies that handle or process organic food must be certified, too.
Consumers must look at package labels and watch for signs in the supermarket.
Along with the national organic standards, USDA developed strict labeling
rules to help consumers know the exact organic content of the food they
buy. The USDA Organic seal identifies that a product is at least 95
percent organic. Excerpted from the USDA National Organic Program website,
http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/ , where further details and lists of certifiers
are available. In Arizona, the Dept. of Agriculture will not be an accredited
certifier while it has adopted a neutral position regarding certification
of producers and handlers and any enforcement issues." - October
11, 2002 Vegetables Newsletter
are the requirements to become an organic farm or ranch? The National
Organic Program (NOP), developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA), became law on April 21, 2001. It is being implemented during
an 18-month transition period. The National Organic Program requires
that agricultural products labeled as organic originate from farms or
handling operations certified by USDA accredited certification agents.
By October 21, 2002, all products sold in the United States and labeled
“organic” must comply with the procedures outlined in the National Organic
Program. (AZ Dept. of Agriculture)
- Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)
this nonprofit organization publishes and disseminates generic
and specific (brand name) lists of materials allowed and prohibited
for use in the production, processing, and handling of organic food
- Calilfornia Certified Organic Farmers
provides links to background and discussion of the proposed rules of
USDA's National Organic Program.
- USDA National Organic Program
gives information on the program, National Standards on Organic Agricultural
Production and Handling, and application forms for accreditation
- Sustainable Agriculture Research
and Education Program, developed by University of California, this
site provides a thorough explanation of sustainable agriculture
and extensive information on cover crops.
Farming Connection is almost an encyclopedia of information on sustainable
agriculture, which includes a monthly newsletter, Alternative