CCOF offers a comprehensive suite of resources for growers looking to go or stay organic. Be sure to bookmark these resources and visit them often!
Organic Transition – Ready to Go Organic?
CCOF and the USDA have special tools to help you understand organic requirements and assess how close your farm is to going organic. Start with our simple checklist for transitioning to certified organic. Or get the red, yellow, or green light for your specific operation by taking our self-assessment. This tool will help you understand how the organic regulations apply to your operation, let you see how ready your farm is for certification, and determine what you might still need to do to prepare.
Ready to go organic? Learn more about CCOF’s Certified Transitional Program.
CCOF Certification Program Manuals
CCOF manuals describe our certification programs and NOP organic standards. We strongly recommend that all new applicants review them closely.
Organic Certification Fees
CCOF supports the growth of organic by providing service-oriented organic certification with highly trained staff who can answer your questions, online tools to manage your certification, and resources to grow your business. Review CCOF’s certification fees here.
Organic Seed and Planting Stock
Commercial Availability of Seed and Planting Stock
You must use organic seed and planting stock unless organic versions are commercially unavailable, with the exception that organic seed must always be used for production of edible sprouts. Start your search using our organic seed and planting stock supplier list.
Annual transplant (seedlings) must be certified organic. You must maintain the supplier's current NOP certificate and purchase invoices showing the organic status.
Production of Planting Stock
Non-organic planting stock grown for sale as planting stock (not to produce a crop) must be managed organically for one year prior to sale as organic. You must document your compliance with this requirement.
Websites that contain seed search engines and other helpful resources:
Still need help? See our seed and planting stock FAQs for more assistance with organic seed.
How to Find Out if a Farm or Livestock Input is Allowed
Read our flyer on how to find out if farm or livestock input is allowed and be sure to follow the outlined steps to get CCOF approval before using any materials. You may also want to review our liquid fertilizer information.
The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) publishes materials information to make it easier for organic operations to research materials for use on/in certified operations.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture also reviews and lists materials allowed on/in organic operations. Access WSDA materials information here.
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations require certified operations to maintain and improve their natural resources and integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of nutrients, promote ecological balance, and conserve biological diversity. Our Natural Resource Conservation Information Page is a resource to support farmers in meeting the NOP’s conservation standards.
Emergency Pest or Disease Treatments
From time to time, federal or state authorities implement emergency pest or disease treatment requirements that mandate the use of materials that are prohibited for use in organic production. The USDA National Organic Program standards contain a specific provision regarding this. You can read more about these events here.
Recordkeeping is an essential part of organic certification. We have developed a collection of sample forms and worksheets to help you maintain compliance with organic standards and help ensure your continued certification with CCOF.
Grower Recordkeeping Forms
- Recordkeeping Checklist for Organic Growers
- Sample Seed Commercial Availability Search Record
- Sample Seed and Planting Stock Record
- Sample Input Record (Organic Farm Input Record)
- Sample Equipment Cleaning Log — This log may also be used to record cleaning of harvest equipment or spray rigs prior to use.
- County Pesticide Use Report (PUR) Verification Request Form — Submit to California counties for assistance with verifying land use history and performing PUR records searches.
- Sample Land Use Affidavit — Use to establish land use history by previous managers/owners of new parcels being brought into the CCOF program.
- Suggested Neighbor Notification and Drift Prevention Letter
- Sample Complaints Log
- Sample Market Load List
Audit Trail Forms
An audit trail is a collection of documents that demonstrates your recordkeeping system. These records may include, but are not limited to, planting records, invoices, purchase receipts, bills of lading, harvest records, receiving logs, weight tags, NOP certificates, etc. Your audit trail documents should demonstrate the harvest, purchase, and use of all organic products, in addition to demonstrating the quantity of finished product that was produced, shipped, and sold. Inspectors will verify that audit trails are sufficient at all annual inspections.
Additional Sources for Sample Records
The NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project provides a wealth of organic farming and processing information and sample documentation forms. Use the project’s website to find the package that best fits your production type. Do you have a sustainable agriculture question? Get answers about specific farming practices from ATTRA. Ask an expert.
CCOF Certification Tips
Maintaining organic certification isn't always easy, so we developed these handy tips on certain aspects of certification: Certification Tips for Growers and Handlers.
CCOF cannot actively consult our clients regarding organic certification compliance. We provide a list of Organic Consultants and Organic Ag Advisors as a resource to anyone seeking assistance with developing an Organic System Plan or other operational or regulatory matters.
Labeling Guides and Resources
Our labeling resources are here to help you develop compliant labels for any product. Be sure to read through our labeling guides and download logos.
Strengthening Organic Enforcement
The Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) Rule is regulation put forth by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). This is the most significant change to the national organic regulations since the creation of the NOP. The rule is intended to safeguard confidence in organic products and minimize fraud throughout the organic supply chain. All operations – including both currently certified and newly impacted uncertified handlers of organic products – must meet all of the requirements in the rule by March 19, 2024. Farmers and livestock operations can review key takeaways here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) — From getting started to determining what inputs can be used, find all your answers here.
- The National Organic Program (NOP) has developed a helpful website with fact sheets and sends out an e-newsletter to alert certified operations and certifiers of changes to organic standards. Sign up for the Organic Insider to hear about updates at the same time as CCOF!
- ATTRA (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service) provides a wealth of organic farming and processing information, as well as sample documentation forms and a special Ask an Expert forum. Find out how ATTRA can get you the help you need.
- Are you trying to figure out how to price your produce? Check out Rodale Institute’s Organic Price Report.
- The Western Region Organic Farming Compliance Handbook provides resources to new and currently certified organic farms and agricultural professionals. This important resource contains sample forms, certification readiness checklists, and helpful explanations of a variety of issues related to organic standards and the certification process.
- Are you trying to decide if organic is right for you? The Organic Trade Association's (OTA) How to Go Organic website provides information for producers and processors on specific issues from a wide variety of sources to help you find answers to your questions and determine what’s needed to get started.
- Determining the nutrient value of cover crops, fertilizers, and compost doesn’t have to be hit-or-miss, thanks to Oregon State University’s Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator. Developed by OSU’s Small Farms Extension Team, the free online Excel calculator will help you design well-balanced and cost-effective nutrient management programs for your farm.
- If you are in the Midwest and need assistance with pre-certification business planning and preparation, the nonprofit Organic Processing Institute is a good resource. They help farmers and processors by facilitating technical assistance, networking, and education to ensure sustainable business success.
- Do you need legal help? Farmers' Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG) is a nonprofit law center dedicated to providing legal services and support to family farmers and their communities in order to help keep family farmers on the land.