The term “organic” can be used to label products when farmers and food processors follow the federal regulations comprising the National Organic Program. Organic farming methods emphasize soil health, biological insect and disease control, and natural fertilizers. Organic food processors cannot use synthetic food preservatives or non-organic additives, although there are several exceptions.
The Department does not certify farms or foods as organic, but can help you to find organizations that offer organic certification and can assist in reimbursing the cost of that certification through our Organic Certification Reimbursement Program.
Federal regulations provide detailed requirements for the farm production methods and products that can be used when farmers and food manufacturers wish to label their products “certified organic.”
The steps to becoming certified organic are to:
- Become familiar with the regulations;
- Determine if you qualify to become certified organic now or if you must plan for transition over the next several years; and
- Locate and contact an organic certification organization and apply for certification.
Anyone producing over $5,000 of product that wishes to label and sell their farm or commercial product as “organic” must be certified. Farmers and food processors must both be certified, as must distributors involved in repackaging. Producers with under $5,000 per year in gross sales do not need to become certified unless they wish to sell their product to be used and identified as an ingredient in a certified organic processed food product.
All organizations accredited to certify farms and businesses are listed on the federal National Organic Program website. While any accredited certification organization can operate in New York State, not all choose to do so. Below, you may also download a list of organizations providing organic certification services in New York State.
This document gives the names and contact information for organizations providing organic certification services for producers and processors in New York State.
Applications for the the 2021-22 Organic Certification Cost Share Program are now open. Please find the application and notice below.
THIS YEAR ONLY: Certified organic growers may be eligible to receive additional reimbursement to offset the cost of organic certification under the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). The OTECP, administered by local county USDA Farm Service Agency offices, reimburses eligible producers up to an additional $500 of certification costs not covered by the traditional cost-share program. If interested, growers will need to reach out to their county offices to apply or request additional information about eligible expenses. Learn more.
Find a Farm
Visit the USDA's Organic Integrity Database to find a specific certified organic farm or business, or search for an operation with specific characteristics.
Additionally, town, city, or county organizations, such as local Chambers of Commerce, Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, and local food groups, are a good source of information, in addition to word of mouth.
Finally, certification organizations maintain lists of the farms they certify. Some provide lists of their certified farm online. Check our list of organizations providing organic certification services in New York State to see which ones list certified farms.