Resources for new applicants

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Resources for new and potential organic operations

Program Manager: Brenda Book
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WSDA Organic Program has compiled a series of resources that may be helpful to people considering or applying for organic certification. Many of these resources were developed and are maintained by other organizations. If you notice any of the links below that no longer work or are out of date please contact us and let us know.

Rules and Regulations

It is important for any new or perspective organic operation to be familiar with the USDA organic regulations. The organic regulations outline the requirements for organic operations such as: descriptions of what input materials can be used on an organic farm, the labeling requirements for organic products, and how to resolve any non-compliances that may be identified.

Additionally, farms or businesses seeking certification from WSDA Organic Program should be familiar with Washington Administrative Code 16-157. WAC 16-157 outlines the rules which are specific to WSDA Organic operations such as: the certification fee schedule and use of the WSDA organic logos.

Sound and sensible video series

This Sound and Sensible Organic Certification video series, filmed in Washington State, features certified organic clients and addresses some common questions about USDA Organic regulations and the certification process.

These videos were developed with support from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, National Organic Program.


Guides to organic certification

To help clarify the regulations and assist both new and veteran organic operations the National Organic Program has published a series of helpful guides to certification. A selection of the resources most pertinent guides are available below. A complete collection of all of their guides and fact sheets are available on the National Organic Program website.
Name of document Printable form
National Organic Program (NOP) Guide to Certification PDF
NOP Guide for Crop Producers PDF
NOP Guide for Livestock Producers PDF
NOP Guide for Processors PDF

Input materials

Determining which input materials are allowed for use in organic agriculture can be a daunting task. Fortunately there are resources to help make this task easier for you. WSDA Organic Program and the Organic Material Review Institute both publish lists of materials they have reviewed and approved for use in organic agriculture. While these inputs have been approved for use, it is important to check the lists and ensure that you are using the material for the reviewed purpose and following all listed restrictions.

Washington State Organic Input Material List

WSDA publishes an Organic Input Material List (PDF 350 KB). Materials on this list have been reviewed by WSDA organic staff and are approved for use in organic agriculture.

Registration Logo

Organic Material Review Institute

The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is an organization providing organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers with independent reviews of products intended for use in organic production and handling. OMRI reviews input products to determine compliance with the USDA National Organic standards and/or Canada Organic Regime (COR) standards.

Organic Material Review Institute Logo

California Department of Food and Agriculture

The California Department of Food and Agriculture Organic Input Material Program registers fertilizing materials to be used in organic crop and food production. Products claiming to be appropriate for use in organic production are verified to comply with the California Fertilizing Materials Law and Regulations and USDA National Organic Program Standards.
These are not exhaustive lists of all input materials allowed for use in organic agriculture. If you would like to use a input material not on these lists, simply contact us and we can help you review that material.

Example recordkeeping forms

The following are a collection of sample record keeping forms that may be useful to new organic operations. These forms are for your use only and are not required as part of the application packet. Rather, if you choose to use them; they should be maintained and made available to your inspector at your inspection.

Name of document Printable form
Buffer Crop Disposition Record PDF 103 KB
Compost Production Record PDF 110 KB
Equipment Cleaning Log PDF 104 KB
Farmers Market Load List or Farm Stand Sales Record PDF 106 KB
Harvest Plan and Record "Pick List" PDF 103 KB
Harvest Record PDF 109 KB
Adjoining Land Use Verification PDF 75 KB
Planting and Harvest Record PDF 121 KB
Crop Rotation Record PDF 115 KB
Seed-saving and Planting-stock Propagation Record PDF 92 KB
Material Record Keeping (AGR 2161) PDF 37 KB
Organic Seed Availability Record (AGR 2261) PDF 24 KB
Confinement and Outdoor Access Restriction Record PDF 254 KB
Livestock Feeding Record PDF 145 KB
Grazing Season Record PDF 132 KB
Livestock Health Record PDF 245 KB
Ruminant Slaughter Verification (AGR 2611) PDF 116 KB


Below are a collection of factsheets from various sources that cover a wide range of topics about the certification process and requirements.

National Organic Program Factsheets

Name of document Printable form
What is organic certification? PDF 1.3 MB
Do I need to be certified organic? PDF 1.7 MB
Introduction to organic practices PDF 664 KB
Organic production and handling standards PDF 1.7 MB
Labeling Organic Products PDF 1.5 KB
Transitioning to Organic PDF 1.9 MB
Technical and Financial Assistance PDF 1.0 MB
Can GMOs be used in Organic Production? PDF 630 KB
Organic Livestock Requirements PDF 2.0 MB
Substances for Organic Crop & Livestock Production and Processing PDF 5.1 MB
Biosecurity in USDA Organic Poultry Operations PDF 1.3 MB

Washington State Dept. of Agriculture Factsheets

Name of document Printable form
Seed, Annual Seedling and Planting Stock Guidelines (AGR 3000) PDF 119 KB
Treated Wood Guidelines (AGR 3003) PDF 130 KB
Crop Rotation Guidelines (AGR 3004) PDF 81 KB
Flood Events and Certified Organic Farms (AGR 3005) PDF 131 KB
Guidelines for Using Mulches and Weed Barriers (AGR 3007) PDF 148 KB
On Farm Poultry Processing in Organic Production (AGR 3008) PDF 167 KB
Selling Organic Ruminant Slaughter Stock (AGR 3009) PDF 97 KB
Organic GAP Factsheet (AGR 3010) PDF 156 KB
Recordkeeping Requirements (AGR 3011) PDF 122 KB
Business Licensing Requirements (AGR 3012) PDF 159 KB
Manure and Compost Application Timing (AGR 3013) PDF 261 KB
Preventative Practices: Crop Pest, Weed, and Disease (AGR 3014) PDF 160 KB
Water Quality Factsheet (AGR 3015) PDF 167 KB
Natural Resources and Biological Diversity Conservation (AGR 3016) PDF 220 KB
Use of Micronutrients in Organic Production (AGR 3017) PDF 176 KB
Wild Crop Production (AGR 3019) PDF 137 KB
Input Materials for Use in Organic Crop Production (AGR 3022) PDF 139 KB
Use of Chlorine in Organic Handling PDF 308 KB
Sourcing Compliant Organic Products PDF 344 KB

Small Farm and Direct Marketing Handbook

WSDA's Small Farm and Direct Marketing Program works with farmers, farmers markets, chefs and non-profit organizations to connect consumers directly to farmers who sell fresh, local products. In 2014, they published the Small Farm and Direct Marketing Handbook. While not specific to organic production, the handbook contains resources and information that are of particular interest to small farms and farms marketing directly to consumers.