F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S Do I have to be an Oregon resident farmer to be
How long will it take to get my operation certified? OTCO certified?
The certification process for new applicants can take 8–12 No. Over the years, Oregon Tilth has made its certification
weeks from the date OTCO receives the certification process available to people in many states and countries.
application and payment. There are several variables that can Is an OTCO organic certification specific to one industry,
affect this. Factors that can contribute to time delays include: aspect of agriculture, or product?
farm location, completeness of organic plan and the ability No. At Oregon Tilth, we recognize the increasing reach and
to demonstrate compliance at the time of inspection. impact of organic business. We strive to provide for that
What is Oregon Tilth’s involvement with the USDA growth by offering certification services that include, but
National Organic Program (NOP) Standard? are not limited to:
Oregon Tilth is one of the USDA NOP accredited certifiers. Commercial producers of organic crops and livestock
We certify to the standard of the USDA, following their
Processors of organic foods, feed, and fiber
guidelines as our only standard for agricultural products
in the USA. The USDA does not actually have any direct Handlers of organic products such as packers, brokers, ORGANIC CERTIFICATION PROCESS
interaction with you, the producer, so as an accredited distributors, and wholesalers
certifier, we authorize people to use the USDA label after Marketers of processed or co-packed organic products
they have undergone the certification process outlined in
Restaurants and retailers specializing in organic fare
Why should I certify my farm USDA Organic?
A D D I T I O N A L I N F O R M AT I O N
There are many reasons why you should consider The OTCO Procedures Manual, Fee Schedule, and the entire
certifying your farm and/or livestock USDA Organic. USDA National Organic Standards are available for free—
The USDA National Organic Standard seal assures download from the Oregon Tilth website, www.tilth.org.
consumers that your farm procedures are authentically organic Additional information can be viewed on the USDA National
and meet the stringent standards set forth by the USDA. Organic Program website, www.ams.usda.gov/nop.
To this end, it makes the product that comes from your farm Our dedicated and knowledgeable Oregon Tilth staff is
more marketable to the consumer or buyer. Also, the measures available to answer all of your questions and help make your
you take to implement organic agricultural practices should be certification process a success. Call us Monday through Friday,
recognized, especially as our society becomes increasingly 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST, 503.378.0690.
aware of the value of buying organic.
470 Lancaster Drive NE | Salem, OR 97301 | PH 503.378.0690 | FX 503.378.0809 | www.tilth.org | email@example.com
T H E C E R T I F I C AT I O N P R O C E S S THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS
If you’ve already taken the initiative to make your livestock §205.236 Origin of Livestock
production organic, then we want the certification process Organic meat animals must be under continuous organic
to be easy, straightforward, friendly, and supportive for you. management from the last third of gestation. Poultry must be
The steps below outline the OTCO–certification process. under continuous organic management beginning no later than
the second day of life. Dairy animals must have been under
First, you should note that your APPLICATION for certification
continuous organic management beginning no later than one
doubles as your Organic Farm and Livestock Plan, the
year prior to organic milk production. Breeder stock may be
foundation of organic certification. The OFP will describe
brought from a nonorganic operation onto an organic operation
your record keeping, animals, and healthcare practices, fields
at any time provided that, if such livestock are gestating and
and facility, pest- and disease-management practices, and the
the offspring are to be raised as organic livestock, the breeder
methods you use to prevent contamination.
stock must be brought onto the facility no later than the last
A trained organic INSPECTOR, third of gestation.
familiar with your type of
§205.237 Livestock Feed
operation, will contact you to
Organic livestock must be fed a
schedule your annual inspection
total feed ration composed of
visit. The inspector will examine
certified organic feed, including
each component of the operation
pasture and forage. Nonsynthetic
to verify your Plan is an accurate
substances and synthetic
description of organic standards
substances allowed under
compliance and will summarize
§205.603 may be used as feed
his or her findings during an exit
additives and supplements.
interview. Inspections typically
last 3–5 hours, depending on the §205.238 Livestock Health
complexity of the operation. Care Practices
Preventive practices must be the
OTCO conducts a REVIEW
primary practice, Parasiticides
of your application and the
may not be used on organic
inspector’s report to evaluate
slaughter animals. Antibiotics
compliance with the organic
and hormones are prohibited.
O R GA N I C C E R T I F I CAT I O N standards. A summary is
presented to the Application
Health treatments must consist
E N D O R S E Y O U R O R G A N I C P R A C T I C E . VA L I D AT E Y O U R O R G A N I C P R O D U C T. Review Committee that makes
of nonsynthetic materials or
synthetic substances as provided
At Oregon Tilth, we’ve been working to promote to ensure quality throughout a product’s journey the final certification decision.
for on the National List under
OTCO will then notify you of
and support organic farmers, gardeners, producers, to the consumer, OTCO provides a system that the certification decision, which
and consumers since the early seventies and have combines strict production standards, on-site may note items that require §205.239 Livestock
since played an integral role in helping create the inspections, and legally binding contracts to protect clarification or correction prior Living Conditions
to completing certification. Organic livestock must have
current USDA Organic Standards. In 1982, we began the producers and buyers of organic products.
access to the outdoors, shade,
Your proposed RESOLUTIONS
offering organic certification to help ensure product Our farm and livestock certification team has for any minor points of noncompliance will be promptly
shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, and direct sunlight suitable
to the species, its stage of production, the climate, and the
authenticity and quality, and support our local extensive experience and expertise in crop and reviewed by OTCO. Once these are cleared, the operation is
environment, including access to pasture for ruminants.
approved for organic certification.
organic advocates in their efforts to expand livestock production—ensuring excellent customer
OTCO will send you a CERTIFICATION contract and HOW MUCH WILL CERTIFICATION COST?
sustainable agriculture. service. The OTCO program complements Oregon Fees for growers, including livestock, are based on gross
your organic certificate. Your certificate is a legal document
Today, the Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) Tilth’s research, education, and advocacy programs identifying your farm name and address, category of income and are determined using fee schedule charts. These
certification, and your certified organic products. Your charts are available from our website or call the OTCO office
program is an internationally recognized symbol of to further promote and support organic food systems. for an estimate of your certification costs. Inspection expenses
organic certification remains in effect until surrendered,
organic integrity. The organic-certification process We invite you to learn more about OTCO, and we suspended, or revoked. are assessed to operators outside of the state of Oregon.
must cover not only the end product, but also every commend your efforts to further the organic community.
step of the process from harvest to market. In order