General Differences in Certifications

  • February 4, 2023 at 1:08 pm #17169
    Pear Girl

    I have been on the fence for a few years now, deciding whether or not we want to get certified (organic). I have heard there may be other options, but honestly don’t know where to begin. We are pretty small, but feel we do have enough sales to justify something, especially if it helps with income.

    February 4, 2023 at 2:04 pm #17173
    Chaplin Farm

    I have been certified organic in the past and I do feel it helped with sales. There are costs and you have to spend time with the inspections so it is probably up to each farm to decide if it is worth it or not. We had good experiences with the inspectors.

    February 4, 2023 at 2:09 pm #17174
    Todd Parlo

    I’d like to approach this so that the (likely) wide variety of philosophies and limitations out there can be served. Primary will be clarification and some fact digging, so hopefully we can all make a small contribution and inform one another. Let’s begin with a few options and fees, and we can progress to all the nuances of each body (including rules, enforcement, philosophy, etc.) The following are 2023 numbers:

    Certified organic fees (annual) vary according to certification arm for each state approved body. Many are in that 300.00 range as a base but will reflect the annual gross sales. I have included a few examples from our northeast region for GAS of 100,000 dollars:

    Vermont – 515.00
    New York- 1175.00
    Massachusetts- 1300.00
    Maine- 1400.00

    The good news is the available reimbursement. The feds historically gave a 75% return, and recently reduced this to 50%. However, other programs can apply. For instance in 2022 there was an additional 25% reimbursement through OTECP. So, to give an example, a farm in Vermont making just under 100,000 in gross sales paid 128.75

    Certified Naturally Grown allows the membership to decide what they pay for certification but the suggestion is to start at 300.00 and pay more according to our size and ability. The minimum to be considered “paid” is 150.00.

    Biodynamic (through Demeter, the trademark owner of biodynamic) – 715.00 annual fee for most producers at this GAS level.

    Real Organic Project- no fees (donations likely welcomed though). Keep in mind they only certify growers that are already certified organic.

    These are only a few possibilities, and of course say nothing about what each offers. All above have inspections.

    It would be helpful for those with direct experience with different memberships and certifications to chime in.

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