Understanding How



Thank you for considering Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO). We support our mission to support socially equitable and biologically sound food systems by focusing on conservation, policy, health and the marketplace. In addition, we further these goals by providing quality technical service to certified clients.

The process for organic certification takes approximately 8-12 weeks (on average) depending on the complexity and location of your operation, as well as your ability to demonstrate compliance with regulations at the time of inspection.

We suggest doing a quick self-assessment on the eligibility of your operation by reading through the organic standards, the OTCO Procedures Manual, and OTCO Fee Schedule.

×Step 1Application

All operations seeking organic certification must fill out an application with a detailed Organic System Plan (OSP). Your OSP will include a description of all products or services requested for certification, record-keeping and documentation practices, pest and disease management practices, and the methods you use to prevent contamination. The application must include correct certification fees as well as the Oregon Tilth Contract and Trademark Use Agreement, which establishes the legal relationship between Oregon Tilth and your operation.

×Step 2Inspection

A trained organic inspector will contact you to schedule your annual inspection visit. The inspector will examine each component of your operation to verify your OSP is an accurate description of organic standards compliance and will summarize his or her findings in a report. The length of inspection visits depend on the complexity and scale of your operation.

×Step 3Review

OTCO staff review your application and the inspector’s report to evaluate compliance with the organic standards. You will receive a notification of the certification decision, which may note specific items that require clarification or correction prior to completing certification.

×Step 4Resolution

Your proposed resolutions for any points of noncompliance will be promptly reviewed by OTCO. Once these are cleared, the operation is approved for organic certification.

×Step 5Certification

Congratulations! Once certification is granted, OTCO will send you an organic certificate. This is a legal document identifying your company, category of certification, and certified organic products or services. Your organic certification remains in effect until surrendered, suspended, or revoked and must be kept updated annually.

×Step 6Apply for Cost Share

The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP) helps farmers and processors afford the expense of organic certification by refunding up to 75 percent of their certification costs per scope of operation, with a maximum of $750 per scope. Learn more about Cost Share opportunities.