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Requirements for Organic Certification

For crop farms –

• 3 years with no application of prohibited materials (no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides,
or GMOs) prior to harvest of the first certified organic crop;
• Implementation of an Organic System Plan, with proactive fertility systems;
conservation measures; environmentally sound manure, weed, disease, and pest
management practices; and soil building crop rotation systems;
• Use of natural inputs and/or approved synthetic substances on the National List;
• No use of prohibited substances while certified;
• No use of genetically engineered organisms, (GMOs) defined in the rule as ”excluded
• No sewage sludge or irradiation;
• Use of organic seeds, when commercially available;
• Use of organic seedlings for annual crops;
• Restrictions on use of raw manure and compost;
• Maintenance of buffer zones, depending on risk of contamination; and
• No residues of prohibited substances exceeding 5% of the EPA tolerance.

For livestock operations –

• Implementation of an Organic Livestock Plan;
• Mandatory outdoor access, when seasonally appropriate;
• Access to pasture for ruminants;
• No antibiotics, growth hormones, slaughter byproducts, or GMOs;
• 100% organic feed and approved feed supplements;
• Sound animal husbandry and preventative health care;
• Organic management from last third of gestation or 2nd day after hatching; and
• No rotating animals between organic and non-organic management.

For processing operations –

• No commingling or contamination of organic products during processing;
• Implementation of an Organic Handling Plan;
• No use of GMOs or irradiation;
• Proactive sanitation and facility pest management practices;
• Use of organic agricultural ingredients in “organic” products, when commercially
available; and
• Use of approved label claims for “100% organic”, “organic” (at least 95% organic
ingredients), “Made with organic ingredients” (at least 70% organic ingredients), and
proper use of the word “organic” in ingredient list (less than 70% organic



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