Additional OTCO certification services

#Bee Better

OTCO has partnered with The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to create Bee Better Certified™.

Bee Better Certified™ certification identifies and celebrates farmers and businesses that adopt farm management practices that support pollinators. We evaluate and certify farms based on the amount and quality of habitat created as well as the incorporation of pest management strategies aimed at protecting crop pollinators. Bee Better Certified™ is good for three years; however, the program requires well-documented annual updates. Learn more about Bee Better fees.

Visit the Bee Better website

Note

Bee Better Certified™ is available to both conventional and organic operations.

#Salmon-Safe

OTCO, in partnership with Salmon-Safe, provides Salmon-Safe certification to organic farmers and handlers that further protect biodiversity and aquatic habitat while helping to redefine the practice of ecologically sustainable agriculture.

Note

Salmon-Safe certification is an optional service and independent of organic certification.

OTCO-certified organic farmers — crop and livestock — are eligible to receive a flat fee ($95) assessment for Salmon-Safe certification to occur during your annual organic inspection. We co-developed an overlay standard that addresses riparian area management, irrigation water use, pest management, and erosion control criteria that are either not covered, or covered only indirectly, under organic certification.

Certification is valid for three years and available for renewal upon inspection.

#OPT Grass-Fed Organic Certification

OTCO, in cooperation with Earth Claims LLC and The Organic Plus Trust (OPT) provides OPT Certified Grass-Fed Organic certification to organic farmers and handlers with grass-fed livestock products.

Note

OPT Certified Grass-Fed Organic is an optional service and built upon, but separate from, organic certification.

OPT Certified Grass-Fed Organic identifies farmers and businesses who are maximizing the use of pasture grazing, minimizing grain in all forms and maximizing animal well being. The program is underpinned by the National Organic Program (NOP) and builds upon the existing requirements. OTCO-certified organic farmers and handlers are eligible to receive a flat rate fee ($350) in addition to annual certification and inspection fees.

Alert

Use of the OPT Certified Grass-Fed Organic seal on any labeling, packaging or marketing materials other than the OPT Certificate, requires a completed and signed licensing agreement with OPT. See the seal section for more information.

General Requirements for all operations:

  • Must be certified organic to USDA NOP standards by OTCO. If not already certified, Operations may seek USDA NOP and OPT Grass-Fed certification concurrently
  • Must be inspected annually, normally in conjunction with the organic inspection
  • Must implement sufficient segregation practices for the grass-fed supply chain and ensure prevention of contamination and commingling

Producer General Requirements:

  • Be certified by an animal welfare program approved by OPT — currently, Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) is the approved program
  • Establish a minimum 150 day grazing season
  • A minimum of 60 percent of an animal’s dry matter intake (DMI) must come from grazing throughout the grazing season
  • Maximize the use of animal harvested forage in each animal’s diet and reduce the use of grain supplements
  • Supplementation with specific feedstuffs, as identified in the Standard, when necessary to maintain nutritional stability and optimal rumen welfare

Livestock operations wishing to apply for OPT Certified Grass-Fed Organic certification must complete the Certified Grass-Fed Organic Livestock Plan (OPT-L) addendum, and operations further processing (including on-farm certified handling and processing) livestock products must complete the Certified Grass-Fed Organic Product Plan (OPT-P).

Certification is valid for one year and available for renewal upon inspection.

#Expedited certification services

For all new applicants and existing clients, OTCO offers an option for expedited services. As a reminder, the certification process takes on average 8-12 weeks — longer during peak season — to complete, barring any major questions or concerns.

Alert

Please note, payment of the certification fee and the expedited fee must be received before our staff can begin reviewing your application and searching for an inspector. The successful and timely review of your file is largely dependent on the completeness of your application, as well as your ability to supply supporting documentation, responsiveness to change requests, and accessibility for any reviewer questions.

While expedited service does not guarantee delivery of certification by a certain date, we do provide the following commitments for all farm, livestock, handling, and additional expedited service requests:

  • Priority treatment for inspection assignment and scheduling
  • Submission of a completed inspection report within two business days of an on-site audit (normally 2-3 weeks)
  • Review of the inspection report and applicant file within two business days of receipt of the report (normally 30 days, or up to 45 during peak season)

OTCO reserves the right to refuse service for expedited requests based on administrative capacity. In all cases where expedited services are requested, OTCO will provide a timely response regarding our ability to meet the request.

The flat fee for expedited services — $1,050 — will be charged in addition to an inspection fee, certification fee, and/or new applicant fee. Payment for expedited services is expected at the time of a new application submission.

Note

Often, higher inspection costs are associated with expedited applicants due to last minute travel arrangements for our inspectors.

If applying for certification under multiple scopes of certification — e.g., as a farm and a processor — the flat expedited service fee applies to each certification scope that you wish to expedite.

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