1.1. WELCOME TO THE COURSE!

The content of this course is organized in six modules to address everyday practices on your farm as they relate to various sections of the USDA organic standards. The standards adopted and codified in 2000, provide production and certification requirements for organic producers and certifiers, and reside at 7 CFR Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Save this link for fast and easy access, and refer back to it every time you need to clarify a rule:

https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=3f34f4c22f9aa8e6d9864cc2683cea02&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title07/7cfr205_main_02.tpl

Throughout this course we will make reference to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). Established by Congress, this federal regulatory program develops and enforces uniform national standards for organically-produced agricultural products sold in the United States. Operating as a public-private partnership, the National Organic Program (NOP) accredits third-party organizations to certify that farms and businesses meet the national organic standards. USDA and accredited certifiers also work together to enforce the standards, ensuring a level playing field for producers and protecting consumer confidence in the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal.

In this course, you will:

  • learn about the opportunities and potential challenges of transitioning to organic production
  • understand the complex process of becoming certified organic
  • develop a clear understanding of the National Organic Standards (NOP) rules & regulations for the production, handling, labeling, and marketing of organic products
  • learn about the challenges and successes of other farmers in their transition process
  • identify a strategy for how to plan for and execute a successful transition to organic production