United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP). Now you know what all the letters represent. Since 2002, the USDA has been regulating foods and other agricultural products labeled or sold as organic within the United States. It established the NOP, which accredits certifying agents at home and abroad (MOFGA Certification Services LLC included!), to certify growers and processors to one national set of standards. Click this to learn more about this agency and the regulation.
We typically cite sections of the National Organic Program Rule when communicating to producers about compliance issues. To find these citations or to read the regulatory text of the NOP Rule (7 CRF Part 205) in its entirety, find the latest edition here.
e-extension is an on-line educational partnership involving 74 universities around the county. It has a comprehensive section on organic agriculture and organic certification. Click here to view their organic offerings.
Here is an awesome primer for certifying organic vegetables by Jim Riddle, Organic Outreach Coordinator, University of Minnesota. Good information on record keeping can be found in this 24- page color pamphlet.
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (a.k.a. ATTRA) also has a wealth of information on organic production practices, certification record keeping and more. Click this to check out their website.
MOFGA has published dozens of technical bulletins on organic farming practices and related subjects over the years. Topics include reading a soil test, growing strawberries organically, raising organic poultry, raising organic pork and composting. Maine relevance is emphasized. Many of the bulletins have been updated and are now on line.
Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) is a review body that evaluates material inputs and products for compliance with the USDA NOP Rule. If you have questions about what pesticides and fertilizers can be used on your land, you should check out this resource (and contact your certifier!). Click here to arrive at their on-line database of reviewed products.