402.477.2323 info@ocia.org

Get Certified

Five Steps to Certification

En Español

Step 1: Apply for Certification

Once you’ve made the decision to go organic by adopting organic practices, it will be necessary to select an accredited certifying agent.
By choosing OCIA, you are requesting certification from a high-integrity, non-profit, member-run organization. Operations may also choose to be members of OCIA. Annually members vote on the fee schedule, board of directors, and other important agenda items. Our members have also established chapters which conduct farm tours and hold educational events at the local destinations. Which is why the Cornucopia Institute has given OCIA an Exemplary rating and called OCIA “one of the most farmer-centric certifiers in the country.” https://www.cornucopia.org/certifier-guide/ocia/

Information about the organic programs available from OCIA can be found online HERE, along with the requirements for each program.

The first step is to submit an application along with your Organic System Plan. Fees, which include certification costs and your estimated inspection costs, are also due at this time. Our applications can be found and submitted online at www.ocia.org or by calling an OCIA office.

Step 2: Pre-Inspection Review

After OCIA receives your complete application, we review it to verify whether it appears your operation will comply with the organic regulations.

We call this process the pre-inspection review (PIR). An OCIA Reviewer will verify all required information is on-file and that your operation complies with the organic standards. OCIA will contact you if additional information is needed or if your operation is ready for inspection.

Step 3: On-site Inspection

OCIA assigns an OCIA approved inspector to conduct an on-site inspection. The inspector verifies the Organic System Plan you provided is accurate and matches the practices being followed at your operation. They will also assess if there is any risk to organic integrity. Inspectors will communicate their findings, regarding the organic programs you have requested, to OCIA.
OCIA hires independent inspectors who have been trained in their specific field of expertise (e.g. crops, livestock, processing, grower groups). We try to assign an inspector near you to keep the cost of your inspection to a minimum. Inspectors will contact you directly to schedule a time to visit.

Step 4: Compliance Review

OCIA reviews the application and the inspection report to determine if your operation complies with the organic regulations.
During this time, an OCIA Reviewer may have additional questions for you as they review your application alongside the inspector’s report.

Step 5: Decision

If your operation has met all the organic compliance requirements, OCIA issues an organic certificate for the programs you requested. This certificate will note the processes and/or products that are certified. Documentation will accompany your certificate to give feedback on minor issues that must be addressed, including any necessary deadlines for response.

Certification must be maintained annually, so updating the Organic System Plan and annual on-site inspections are required to maintain your organic certifications. OCIA will contact you to provide these updates.

Please note that applying for certification is not a guarantee. All organic requirements must be met before your operation can be certified organic. But, please know that you have chosen a high integrity accredited certifying agent that will do its best to help you succeed.

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Thank you for submitting your organic certification application! OCIA looks forward to working with you.

For applicants who are new or currently under suspension, please see the end of the page for some important notes.

An estimate for your 2020 certification and inspection fees was sent with the login information. Please promptly send payment to the address on the invoice. If you are a new applicant, OCIA will not review your file until payment is received.

If you are submitting hardcopies of any supporting documents, please mail them to the address on the invoice. Failure to submit required supporting documents may lead to delays in the review.

Once a complete file is received, OCIA will complete a pre-inspection review. During this process, OCIA will contact you if additional information is needed. Please respond to any communication from OCIA in a timely manner.

Please contact OCIA International if you have any questions.

New applicants: Please be reminded that as a new applicant, your operation currently cannot label or sell product as organic. If organic certification is granted, an organic certificate will be issued and product can then be sold as organic.

For farm operations, the inspector must see your crop in the field, so check-strips must be left in all fields requested for certification if any harvest occurs prior to inspection. For hay fields, any hay harvested prior to inspection cannot be certified as organic.

For suspended operations: Please be aware that no product can be sold as “organic” while suspended and previous product is no longer “organic.” For farm operations, any crops currently in storage are no longer organic and must be sold conventionally. Only crops harvested after reinstatement, if it is granted, may be sold as “organic.” Any crops harvested from fields prior to reinstatement must be sold conventionally.

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Thank you for submitting your organic certification application! OCIA looks forward to working with you.

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