What is Organic Certification?

logo organicOrganic certification is a process that enables food and other agricultural products to be represented as organic. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers, and restaurants. In 2002, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) implemented federal standards for organic products. Organic standards address such factors as soil quality, pest and weed control, use of input materials, and humane treatment of livestock. Meeting these NOP standards is the core of the organic certification process and is required for a producer to use the word “organic” or the USDA Organic seal on food, feed, or fiber products.

New York State Certified Organic is consistently in the top ten in all organic categories in the US, ranking (according to the USDA 2014 Organic Census):

Organic certification addresses a growing worldwide demand for organic food. It is intended to assure quality, prevent fraud, and to promote commerce. For more information, read the USDA's What is Organic Certification sheet. 

Who Needs to be Certified?

Most farms and business that grow, handle or process organic products must be certified. The only exemptions and exclusions per the USDA organic regulations are as follows.

  • Farms and processors that sell less than $5,000 gross sales in organic products per year.
  • Operations that only handle packaged organic products that remain in the same package or container, and are not relabeled or changed in any way.
  • Retail food establishments.

Uncertified operations, other than those listed above, may not produce products sold or labeled as organic. Refer to Do I Need to be Certified Organic? for more information.

How to Get Certified?

Organic certification consists of an annual application, inspection, compliance review(s) with organic standards, and finally certificate issuance if standards are met.

certification process

Get started now online! The certification application, called an Organic System Plan (OSP), guides you through the required organic standards and helps you describe your organic practices. To receive an application packet, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at (607) 724-9851.

Simply mail or email your completed application to NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC and don’t forget to include your certification fee. If you have any questions or require clarification, please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our certification FAQs.

NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC
840 Upper Front Street
Binghamton, NY 13905

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Need certification fast? We can help with our Expedited Certification Program.

Why choose NOFA-NY?

Diverse Client Base

  • We certify a wide range of organic operations that include: Farm/Producer, Dairy, Livestock, Wild Crops, Maple, Handler, Broker, Processor, Co-packer, Slaughterhouse, Distributor, Restaurant, and Livestock Auction House.

Local and Regional Knowledge

  • We specialize in the New York State region and surrounding Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions in order to better assist in finding allowed inputs, addressing soil and pest issues, and more. We are invested in our producers and provide easy and timely access. We also seek to reduce inspector travel cost by using local agents.

Highly Experienced and Trained Staff

  • We provide a dedicated staff with extensive years of experience in organic certification dating back prior to the National Organic Program.
  • Our staff contains graduates in such fields as Environmental Studies/Planning, Animal Science, AgBusiness, Biology, Vegetable Crops, and Plant Pathology.
  • We are also proud to have on staff several certified organic farmers including the first certified organic dairy farmer in the United States.
  • Our goal is to provide great customer service and always ensure the highest integrity of the organic standards.

Wide Range of Special Services

Ask Organic Peers

“NOFA-NY is really a class act and your staff has been extremely helpful and instrumental in getting our project off and running.” – Jim Ballerstein, NYS Agriculture Experiment Station- Geneva, NY, Cornell University, Certified Organic in 2015

"NOFA-NY 's strength is the helpfulness of the staff from front desk to inspection.  It's a scary process the first time and they make it almost enjoyable.  I cannot believe how quickly our certification was completed." - Betsy Kusmierski, Battistoni Italian Specialty Meats - Buffalo, NY, Certified Organic in 2015