(August 17, 2015) Santa Cruz, CA – CCOF—the nation’s leader in organic certification, advocacy, and education—announces its enhanced Transitional Certification program for farmers beginning the three-year transition process of gaining organic certification for their land. As the demand for organic products grows, CCOF’s Certified Transitional program provides a stepping stone toward organic certification for farm operations.
USDA standards require land to be free from prohibited pesticides and materials for three years before it can be certified organic, but farmers interested in organic certification can find the three-year transition period daunting.
“Although a farm may be using organic practices for the three transitional years, the farm’s products cannot be labeled as organic, and they also do not command the higher price point of organic crops that offset increased costs of organic production,” says Jake Lewin, President of CCOF Certification Services, LLC. “This can be a roadblock to organic transition for many farmers who are already working within tight financial margins.”
In a time when the demand for organic outpaces the supply, Certified Transitional products can be desirable in the marketplace as an option that supports more land being converted to organic production. Since obtaining transitional certification includes the ability to label products with a “Certified Transitional” seal, the program provides a vehicle for farmers to communicate about and gain value from their investment in moving towards full organic certification. Farmers benefit by learning about organic certification and standards throughout the entire process.
“As demand grows for organic products, we are finding creative ways to encourage more farmers to meet that demand by transitioning their land to organic production. Certified Transitional offers these producers an opportunity to display their commitment to meeting organic production requirements through their three-year transition period,” said CCOF Executive Director/CEO Cathy Calfo.
CCOF has developed a number of tools and programs to support producers interested in transitioning to organic farming, including a 10 step checklist for transitioning to certified organic that helps farmers quickly understand the steps to becoming organic.
Interested producers can also take a self-assessment to help them understand how close they are to beginning the certification process. Once completed, producers can submit their self-assessment with any CCOF certification application and receive a $100 discount on the application fee!
The 10 step checklist and the self-assessment, along with additional resources, are available on the CCOF website at www.ccof.org/transitional-resources. These resources were made possible through funding by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, National Organic Program.
Are you ready to go organic? Visit www.ccof.org/go-organic to learn more.
CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1973 that advances organic agriculture for a healthy world through organic certification, education, advocacy, and promotion. CCOF is based in Santa Cruz, California, and represents more than 2,900 certified organic members in 42 states and three countries.
For further information on CCOF visit: www.ccof.org.