by Eric Soderholm, Organic Production Coordinator

Once you choose a certifying agent to work with to certify your operation as USDA Organic, you will be asked to complete an application that provides information about your operation. This application serves as your farm’s Organic System Plan (OSP) and will be your first formal communication with your certifying agent as they assess whether your operation is in compliance with National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. It is a good idea to spend some time reviewing a blank application to understand what information you will need to gather and document. The amount of time it takes to successfully certify your farm will depend on the amount of detail you include in your OSP. If it is incomplete or lacks necessary specifics, you will be asked for additional information and will thus delay the next steps of the certification. This process can already take a minimum of two months, so plan ahead and be thorough.