Don’t know where to start, or chasing down a form? We’ve collected the background resources, certifiers, process guides, and regulatory information you’ll need below.
If you would like one-on-one guidance in navigating the certification process, deciding whether certification makes sense for your farm, or implementing organic practices, one of NOFA/RI’s Organic Farm Advisors may be able to help.
- USDA Organic Literacy Initiative: Is organic an option for me?
- Organics 101: Five Steps to Organic Certification
- To see a list of Organic Certifiers, sort by state of operation in the USDA’s Organic Certifier Locator.
- To see a list of USDA Certified Organic and Transitional Farms, search by state in the Organic Integrity Database.
Rhode Island Certifiers
Organic farms and businesses in the state work with either the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management or Baystate Organic Certifiers. The RI DEM Organic Farm Map lists the certifier for each farm in the state.
RI DEM Division of Agriculture
- How to Apply for Organic Certification
- For more information, contact Matt Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or (401) 222-2781.
Baystate Organic Certifiers
Baystate Organic Certifiers is a USDA National Organic Program accredited certifying agency providing organic certification to farm and processing operations throughout the continental United States. Several RI farms are certified through Baystate.
- For more information, contact Eric Hanson at email@example.com or (401) 835-2210
Rhode Island Fees and Cost Share
The application fee for organic certification from the State of Rhode Island for the crops producer, livestock producer and handler categories is $200.00 per operation per category per year, regardless of the number of categories of organic or transitional certification. RI DEM offers a cost share program through USDA to reimburse 50% of organic certification fees, up to $500 (as of 2021).
- View Cost Share and other forms under the “Organic Certification” section of RI DEM’s agriculture forms page.
- View cost share application from 2021
National and state regulations apply to organic growing and certification. The following pages include comprehensive information from the USDA and RI DEM.
Certified Organic Growers may use only material which have been approved by their certifier and listed on their approved organic farm plan. Inputs which certifiers determine as acceptable for use in organic farming are those approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), the EPA (for organic use) or by other USDA-accredited certification agencies.
- View the most recent list of OMRI-approved products
- View the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
Producers, handlers and processors with gross income from organic agricultural products over $5,000.00 annually must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier to receive the organic label. Small operations may be exempt from certification but must still comply with all production, handling and record-keeping requirements.
Certified organic fields have been managed organically for at least three consecutive years. Transitional fields have been farmed organically for at least twelve consecutive months. Produce or meats raised on a transitional field may not be represented or marketed as organic and may not be used as organic ingredients in other products.
Organic Production Guides
The ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Program produces a series of comprehensive guides explaining the National Organic Program (NOP) and certification process. They also offer resource portals on a variety of topics within agriculture, including agroforestry, equipment, food safety, marketing, pest management, soils, and more.
Guide for Organic Crop Producers
This guide is intended to help lead farmers through the organic certification process. Chapters 1 through 4 explain the National Organic Program (NOP) and describe the process of organic certification. Later chapters explain specific USDA organic regulations that apply to planting, soil fertility, pest management, and other farm practices. In addition to interpreting the regulations, this guide explains the practices and materials that are allowed for organic production.
Guide for Organic Livestock Producers
This guide is an overview of the process of becoming certified organic. It is designed to explain the USDA organic regulations as they apply to livestock producers. If you are also producing crops, you will need the “Guide for Organic Producers” to understand the regulations pertaining to the land and to crop production. In addition to explaining the regulations, both guides give examples of the practices that are allowed for organic production.