Certification Process

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Transitioning from conventional to organic takes 36 months from the last application of a prohibited substance to when a certified organic crop can be harvested.

This typically means two or three years of transitional crops following the last conventional crop before the first certified organic crop is harvested depending on when during the growing season the last prohibited substance was applied. If if was in the spring, it may be two years and if it was in the fall it would be closer to three years.

Each organic farmer must certify with an accredited certification body. Each certification body has their own forms that they use for the certification process. The certification body directs the certification process and verifies that organic products follow Canadian Organic Standards. Ongoing certification requires annual application, inspection and review of your business.

The application process requires detailed information on the history of your farm operations. The required information could include field history, harvest, storage and seed records, description of crop rotations, acreage maps, fertility, weed and pest management, equipment used, and input documentation.

Certification Costs

Certification costs will vary depending on the certifying body. Some agencies will charge a flat rate, and others will have a series of rates, or charge based on acreage, production, size and complexity of the operation. Certifying bodies can be non-profit organizations or for profit businesses.

Take the time to call different CBs to learn about their fees, what they offer, and learn which one is right for you. Talk to other farmers and learn about their experiences.

UPDATES TO THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS

Janine Gibson, an organic inspector and president of the Organic Food Council of Manitoba tells us what everyone should know about organic certification.

Helpful Links:

Certification Process Flow Chart
Alberta Agriculture and Certified Organic Associations of BC

List of Certifying Bodies
Pivot and Grow. 2016

Choosing an Organic Certifier
Canadian Organic Growers

Top Ten Inspection Tips
Janine Gibson. 2015

Common Mistakes in Certification
Transition to Organic Crop Production. Canadian Organic Growers. 2015

Organic Certification for Producers
SaskOrganics.