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Steps to becoming certified organic with Oregon Tilth.

The Certification Process

Golden Wheat Field

The organic certification process must cover not only the end product, but also every step of the process from harvest to market. In order to ensure quality throughout a product’s journey to the consumer, OTCO provides a system that combines strict production standards, on-site inspections, and legally binding contracts to protect the producers and buyers of organic products. If you’ve already taken the initiative to make your farming practice organic, then we want the certification process to be easy, straightforward, friendly, and supportive for you. The steps below outline the OTCO certification process.


  1. Application: The application for certification doubles as your Organic System Plan, the foundation of organic certification. The Plan will include a description of your products/services requested for certification, record keeping, pest and disease management practices, and the methods you use to prevent contamination. Get appropriate application form. The application will need to be accompanied with the Oregon Tilth Contract and Trademark Use Agreement which establishes the legal relationship between Oregon Tilth Certified Organic and your operation.
  2. Inspection: A trained organic inspector, familiar with your type of operation, will contact you to schedule your annual inspection visit. The inspector will examine each component of your operation to verify your Plan is an accurate description of organic standards compliance and will summarize his or her findings during an exit interview. Inspections typically last 3–5 hours, depending on the complexity of the operation.
  3. Review: OTCO conducts a review of your application and the inspector’s report to evaluate compliance with the organic standards. A summary is presented to the Review Specialist that makes the final certification decision. OTCO will then notify you of the certification decision, which may note items that require clarification or correction prior to completing certification.
  4. Resolution: Your proposed resolutions for any minor points of noncompliance will be promptly reviewed by OTCO. Once these are cleared, the operation is approved for organic certification.
  5. Certification: OTCO will send you  your organic certificate. Your certificate is a legal document identifying your company name and address, category of certification, and your certified organic products/services. Your organic certification remains in effect until surrendered, suspended, or revoked and needs to be updated annually.
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