Organic Certifiers Recognized for Quality Data and Collaboration
The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) recognized the work of accredited organic certifiers with awards for extraordinary support of the National Organic Standards. The awards were presented at the annual NOP Certifier Training for USDA-accredited organic certifiers and organic inspectors from around the world on January 30. Nine certifiers were recognized for exceeding requirements for delivering high quality data to the Organic INTEGRITY Database in 2023. Three certifiers were also recognized with a Director’s Award for outstanding contributions to work in organic certification.
Data is an important market development tool and quality data is integral to surveillance across supply chains. The USDA Organic INTEGRITY Database provides up-to-date public information about organic operations that helps buyers and sellers find each other in the marketplace. The database also makes it easy to look up the status of a certified organic operation online from anywhere in the world and see the products that each farm and business has to offer. It allows users to quickly confirm the organic certification status and other details of a farm or business, and helps certifiers support the organic community in market development and fraud prevention.
The seventh annual Investing in INTEGRITY Data Quality Award winners are:
- CCOF Certification Services, LLC (CCOF) – Santa Cruz, CA
- Clemson University (CU) – Pendleton, SC
- Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) – Broomfield, CO
- Public Institution “Ekoagros” (EKOAGROS) – Kaunas, Lithuania
- Marin Organic Certified Agriculture (MOCA) – Novato, CA
- MOFGA Certification Services, LLC (MOFGA) – Unity, ME
- Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) – Corvallis, OR
- Quality Certification Services (QCS) – Gainesville, FL
- Yolo County Department of Agriculture (YDA) – Woodland, CA
Over the past year, three certifiers also stood out for their active, effective communication and collaboration with NOP staff on a wide range of issues and day-to-day operations, including fraud investigations. The result was increased insight for NOP into the real-world application of the organic standards which allows the program to more effectively ensure integrity and consistency in how the USDA organic regulations are applied all around the world.
For their outstanding contributions to work in organic certification, the 2024 National Organic Program Director’s Award winners are:
NOP develops and enforces standards for organically produced agricultural products sold in the United States. Congress established NOP as a regulatory program that operates as a public-private partnership with 75 third party accredited certifiers playing a key role in hands-on oversight of every USDA certified organic farm and business worldwide.
These third-party organizations inspect and certify organic farms and businesses comply with USDA organic regulations through annual reviews, ongoing surveillance, and targeted testing and enforcement actions. USDA also invests significant resources to develop certifier and inspector capabilities and oversee their work year-round, including advanced training available through the Organic Integrity Learning Center.
More information on organic enforcement and oversight is available on the NOP website at www.ams.usda.gov/organic.