Thursday, December 13, 2012

NOP Releases New Guides for Organic Certification

Written by NCAT experts, guides are part of NOP ‘Organic Literacy Initiative’

Beginning farmers and existing organic operations can find detailed information about organic certification in a series of new guides available now on the ATTRA-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service website.

The guides were written by sustainable-agriculture experts at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in partnership with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).

They are part of the USDA’s Organic Literacy Initiative, which was launched earlier this year. This effort has included self-paced training modules, outreach materials, and a guide to organic and organic-related USDA programs.

The initiative is focused on answering one of the main questions for farms and businesses considering organic certification: “What would I need to change in order to go organic?”

The earlier Organic Literacy Initiative materials provided an overview designed as a first step in understanding organic certification. The new guides help prospective organic operations take the next step: learning more about their specific type of organic production.

They also are helpful for current organic operations looking to adopt new management approaches and better understand NOP standards.

The four guides provide detailed information about the relevant organic requirements, provide best practices, and further explain the certification process.

• Guide to Organic Crop Producers

• Guide for Organic Livestock Producers

• Guide for Organic Processors

• Organic Certification of Farms and Businesses Producing Agricultural Products

The guides can be downloaded for free or ordered as a paper publication for a small handling fee either at the links above or on the ATTRA website at
ATTRA has been the nation’s leading resource for information on sustainable agriculture since 1987. NCAT developed and maintains ATTRA through a cooperative agreement with the USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service.

ATTRA covers a wide range of topics, including reducing pesticide use on cropland, promoting food safety in sustainable production systems, reducing farm energy use and costs, enriching soils with the use of cover crops, and providing technical assistance in the growing areas of local farmers markets and urban gardening.


Since 1976, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has been helping people by championing small-scale, local and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities and protect natural resources. In partnership with businesses, organizations, individuals and agricultural producers, NCAT is working to advance solutions that will ensure the next generation inherits a world that has clean air and water, energy production that is efficient and renewable, and healthy foods grown with sustainable practices. More information about its programs and services is available at or by calling 1-800-ASK-NCAT.

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