Why it is So Hard to Get USDA Organic Certified

One big hurdle organic farmers have to jump through is getting USDA organic certified. While you certainly can run your organic farm without being certified, you will not be able to put that “USDA certified” stamp on your business, which can give your business a lot of credibility in the eyes of consumers. The process is costly, time-consuming, and potentially emotionally and mentally draining, as well, but if you succeed, you will reap huge rewards. If you need help getting your farm organic certified, contact the food law attorneys at De Cardenas Law Group for a free consultation today.

Why it is So Hard to Get USDA Organic Certified

The following are a few reasons why it is so hard to get USDA organic certified.

  1. Even if you already have a farm, you still have to wait three years.

You may be thinking that the process can not be that bad if you already own a farm that has been in operation for years. Unfortunately, that is a common misconception. In fact, even if your farm has been in operation for 20 years, you still need to operate it as an organic farm for at least three full years before you can call your farm “organic.” That may not sound like a lot, but remember that you will have to adhere to all organic standards during this three-year period, including higher costs of organic farming and charging your customers higher prices for your produce.

  1. Certification costs an average of $1,000 per year.

As if it were not enough that you already have to pay higher costs to operate your organic farm and charge your customers higher prices, you also have to pay an annual fee each year to maintain your organic farm. Some states have assistance programs, so make sure you speak with an attorney to learn more about any assistance programs that may be available to you.

  1. The rules are not always clear.

Despite the existence of numerous rules for obtaining USDA organic certification, the rules are surprisingly vague. For example, one rule is that there needs to be a buffer zone between organic farms and conventional farms, but no standard is provided for how large the buffer zone has to be or whether a physical barrier is needed between the properties. Without clear guidance from the authorities, a decision regarding your application is left to the sole discretion of an individual certifier.

Contact a California Food Lawyer Today

If you want to convert your current farm to a USDA certified organic farm, or if you want to open a new organic farm from scratch, you will need an experienced food law attorney to help you achieve your goals. The food law attorneys at De Cardenas Law Group have experience helping clients successfully obtain USDA certification for their organic farms and are passionate about helping organic farms in California thrive and expand. Let us take control of your legal needs so you can focus on your passion and expertise – organic farming. Contact us online or at 626-577-6800 (Los Angeles) or 415-590-4869 (San Francisco) today to schedule an appointment with one of our business and food law attorneys.