Before you apply

Before getting started, here a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Evaluate when your operation wants to start selling products as organic. The certification process takes an average of 8-12 weeks — sometimes longer during our busy season of May-September — from the time an application is received until the operation is certified. It’s important to prepare and time your application submission based on your needs.
  • Determine whether certification is mandatory, optional, or unavailable for your operation
  • Decide which certification service(s) make sense for your operation
  • Understand which category — or scope — of certification your operation falls under
  • Familiarize yourself with the matched certification standards — e.g., USDA National Organic Program, NSF/ANSI 305 for personal care products, GOTS for fibers and textiles, and others — prior to application
  • Review the OTCO procedures manual for a deep dive into our process and policies


All new applicants must have their operation inspected prior to harvesting organic crops or running organic products. We recommend submitting your application at least six (6) weeks before you intend to harvest or run organic products.

Make sure to pay your certification fees at the time of application submission to ensure proper handling of your file.

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