Organic Certification

The Plant Industry Section of RIDEM's Division of Agriculture and Resource Marketing administers the Rhode Island Organic Certification Program, by which qualified farms in the state are certified as producing products organically. Beginning in 1990, crops were certified by standards developed by the Rhode Island Organic Certification Committee. Since the USDA AMS National Organic Program (NOP) went into effect in October 2002, the DEM has been an accredited state certification agency certifying according to the NOP Standards. These federal regulations require that any raw or processed agricultural commodity or product, marketed for human or livestock consumption, which is sold, labeled or represented as "100% organic," "organic," or "made with organic" in the US must be produced and handled in accordance with the NOP Standards. Any producer or handler (processor) with gross income from sales of organic agricultural products over $5,000.00 annually is required to be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier. Operations exempt from certification are also required to comply with the production, handling and record-keeping requirements of the Standards. More information is available in Organic Certification Resources and Requirements for Uncertified Operations. The USDA NOP regulations can be found on the NOP web page.

The Division of Agriculture is accredited by USDA to certify organic crops and livestock producers. Certification agencies which are accredited to certify organic handlers can be found on the USDA NOP Accredited Certifiers web page.

Operations with activities that fall within the organic handling category are those that process, manufacture or handle organic products. To find out whether an operation should be certified as a handler, read through the NOP FAQ on becoming a certified operation.