Organic Program
Organic Program Overview
Producers and handlers of raw agricultural products wishing to sell their products as organic are required to register with the county agricultural commissioner prior to the first sale of product, and then annually renew their registration with the secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture. County agricultural commissioners also process registrations for retail establishments involved in the handling or processing of organic products as required by the California Organic Products Act of 2003.

County inspectors conduct producer and handler audits and perform inspections at retailers and farmer?s markets to ensure compliance with the law. They may respond to complaints or conduct investigations in cooperation with the State.

A copy of the California Organic Products Act of 2003, California Organic Retail Practices, text of the regulations for the National Organic Program, as well as a list of certifiers operating in California and other related information can be obtained by logging on to the California Department of Food and Agriculture website at California Organic.

Further information about the National Organic Program (NOP) as well as a copy of the final rule can be obtained by logging on to the NOP at Agricultural Marketing Service.
Definition of "ORGANIC"
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has also agreed upon a definition of the term organic. That definition, which follows, was drawn up in April 1995.

"Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony. Organic' is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act.

"The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole. Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water. Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people."
Informational Links
Organic Registration Forms
Organic Materials Review Institute: site maintains a list of organic brand name materials tht can be used in organic production and processing.
Organic Trade Association This is a trade association consisting of organic farmers, processors, suppliers, retailers and other industry businesses.
Organic Farming Research Foundation To foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming practices. To locate a local certifier: once at home page click on 'general information,' then click on 'about organic,' then proceed to bottom of document and click on 'find my local certifier.'
Post Harvest Information Through the postharvest research and extension programs of 13 Extension Specialists, we strive to provide relevant information to California growers, shippers, marketers, carriers, distributors, retailers, processors, and consumers of fresh horticultural crops.
Small Farm Center We envision a California agriculture in which small and family farms remain a dynamic, viable component of the communities in which they operate.
Sustainable Ag Research & Education Program Provides leadership and support for scientific research and education in agricultural and food systems that are economically viable, conserve natural resources and biodiversity, and enhance the quality of life in the state's communities. SAREP serves farmers, farmworkers, ranchers, researchers, educators, regulators, policy makers, industry professionals, consumers, and community organizations across the state.
Alternative Farming Systems Information Specializes in identifying and accessing information related to alternative agricultural enterprises and crops as well as alternative cropping systems.