On-farm processing

#Activities requiring handling certification

Any certified organic farm that produces a finished, multi-ingredient processed product using more than on-farm produced organic agricultural ingredients, water, and salt, must obtain organic handling (processing) certification.


Sample scenarios requiring the addition of organic handling certification:

Sample A: An apple orchard wants to make cider, but doesn’t produce enough apples on-site. The operation purchases apples from a neighboring certified organic farm.

Sample B: A vegetable grower wants to pickle and can certain on-farm produced vegetable crops. The operation adds a certified organic hot sauce purchased and not produced on the farm to the finished product.

All farms that process — with the exception of packaging — both organic and non-organic processed products, must apply for organic handler certification.

Remember, just because you may be approved for on-farm handling does not mean that you are eligible to handle products from other operations. Do not jeopardize the certification of your farm or of the other operation.


Seed cleaning of both organic and non-organic seeds that have been produced on-farm does not require the addition of organic handler certification. However, it does require thorough recordkeeping to ensure seeds were not commingled.

#Activities covered by crop certification

Your organic crop certification covers simple processing and handling of on-farm produced crops.

Farms that produce a finished multi-ingredient processed product using more than organic agricultural ingredients, water and salt must apply for certification as a handler. Farms packing and labeling their own products — under their own brand, or for another brand — are eligible to do so provided it is clearly outlined in their Organic System Plan and documented appropriately.


Sample crop certification covered activities: washing, drying, storing, sorting, ensiling, and packing, packaging and labeling. Additional on-farm processing activities may be included and are covered under livestock certification.

The on-farm processing decision tree should be used to assess the additional scope requirement. OTCO-certified crop operations producing less than $5,000 in gross organic sales of processed organic products may be considered a farm processor per reviewer discretion. We reserve the right to require handler certification of any operation as necessary.

Farms that process — with the exception of packaging — both organic and non-organic processed products must apply for handler certification.


Note that on-farm seed cleaning is considered a continuation of harvest, not processing. If the seed producer is a split operation, they must have adequate contamination prevention procedures in their OSP, but are not required to have handling certification.

Multi-ingredient products
In all cases, when a farm produces multi-ingredient products, OTCO will require completed formulations, Master Ingredients List(s), sanitation practices, product flowchart and/or facility map for processed products.

Forms & Documents

Download the above and submit it to your client service team. If you applied for certification using our Online OSP via SOW Organic, you can make all of your OSP updates and requests through your account.

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