Certifying Agencies

Organic Certification - Legalities and Logistics

In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA). This law was heralded by many as the first U.S. law established to regulate a system of farming. OFPA requires that anyone selling products as "organic" must follow a set of prescribed practices that include avoidance of synthetic chemicals in crop and livestock production, and in the manufacturing of processed products. Organic certification agencies became established in the U.S. to deal with a required "third-party certification." States, including Iowa, followed suit and established their own organic laws. Iowa passed Chapter 190 in 1990, which defined organic as above, and established penalties for producers falsely identifying their products as organic. Iowa allows private certification agencies to operate in the state, as well as their own state of Iowa certification program, which will be available in 2000. This system is in contrast to the state of California, for example, which relies on California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF-a private certifier) and the state of Washington, which requires that all farmers be certified through the state. Inspection fees average $250 per year per farm to support the independent inspection structure.

Additional fees are based on sales or individual acreage, depending upon the agency.

Proposed rules, implementing the federal OFPA law, were promulgated in 1997 after seven years of revisions. Unfortunately, these rules did not meet the criteria set forth by the private certification agencies, and are once again, in the revision phase, with an anticipated delivery date of 2001. Federal rules will require that all farmers who gross more than $5,000 per year from organic sales must be certified through an agency accredited with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). The "small farmer exemption" allows for small-scale producers to receive the benefits of premium prices (provided produce is raised organically) while avoiding certification fees. This allowance may change in the future, however, and all farmers are encouraged to join a certifying association to participate in the benefits of sharing information among members.

State of Iowa Organic Certification Program

The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship (IDALS) offers a state organic certification program. Farmers may elect to use the state program in place of, or in conjunction with, their private certifier. The state program has the same rules and a similar fee structure as private certification agencies operating in Iowa.

Contact: Paul Ovrom, IDALS Organic Program
Telephone: 515-242-6239.
Email: paul.ovrom@iowaagriculture.gov
Website: https://iowaagriculture.gov/agricultural-diversification-market-development-bureau/organic-certification-program

Certification Agencies
(practicing in Iowa)

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)
April Crittenden
2155 Delaware Avenue, Suite 150
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: 831-423-2263 
Fax: 831-423-4528
Email: ccof@ccof.org
Website: https://www.ccof.org/

Global Organic Alliance (GOA)
Betty Kananen
P.O. Box 530
3185 Township Road 179
Bellefontaine, OH 43311-0530
Phone: 937-593-1232
Fax: 937-593-9507
Email: goaorg@goaorg.com
Website: https://www.goa-online.org

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA)
Michelle Menken
1900 Hendon Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108
Phone: 612-625-7766
Email: mncia@mncia.org
Website: http://www.mciaorganic.org/
Midwest Organic Services Association, Inc. (MOSA)
Cori Skolaski
122 West Jefferson St
Viroqua, WI 54665
Phone: 844-637-2526
Fax: 608-492-0470
Website: https://mosaorganic.org/ 

Nature's International Certification Services (NICS)
Emily Fowell
PO Box 312/210 Airport Road
Viroqua, WI 54665
Phone: 608-637-7080
Fax: 608-637-7460
Email: nics.inbox@ecocert.com
Website: https://naturesinternational.com/nics/home

Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) International
Cindy Elder
1340 North Corner Boulevard
Lincoln, Nebraska 68505-1838 USA
Phone: 402-477-2323
Fax: 402-477-4325
Email info@ocia.org
Website http://www.ocia.org/
OCIA of Iowa Chapter 1
Amy Krasne
14751 260th St
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
Phone: 402-639-6041
Fax: 402-939-0369
Email: iaociach1@gmail.com
Website: https://ocia.org/people/
OCIA Iowa Chapter 2
Leon Kruse
111 East Rural St.
Fort Atkinson, IA 52144
Phone: 563-778-2726
Email: krusefarmer1@gmail.com
Website: https://ocia.org/people/
Southeast Iowa Organic Association-(Iowa Chapter 3)
Pam Streeter
4284 215th Ave.
Ottumwa, IA 52501
Phone: 641-799-5900
Email: dpstreeter@gmail.com
Website: https://ocia.org/people/
Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA)
Alisha Schleining
41 Crosswell Rd
Columbus, OH 43214
Phone: 614-262-2022
Fax: 614-421-2011
Email: organic@oeffa.org
Website: https://certification.oeffa.org

OneCert
Karlin Warner
2124 Y St, Suite 208
Lincoln, NE 68503
Phone: 402-420-6080
Fax: 888-475-6044
Email: info@onecert.com
Website: https://onecert.com

OnMark Certification Services
Mark Seeley
23833 County Road 16
Elkhart, IN 46516
Phone: 574-971-8479
Fax: 574-971-5424
Email: office@onmarkcertification.com
Website: https://www.onmarkcertification.com/

Oregon Tilth
Connie Karr
301 SW 4th St., Ste 110
Corvallis, OR 97339
Phone: 503-378-0690
Fax: 541-753-4924
Email: organic@tilth.org
Website: https://tilth.org/

Organic Certifiers, Inc.
Susan Siple
6500 Casitas Pass Rd
Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: 805-684-6494
Email: info@occert.com
Website: http://www.organiccertifiers.com/

Pro-Cert
Box 100A, RR#3, 475 Valley Road
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, SK S7K 3J6 Canada
Phone: 306-382-1299
Fax: 306-382-0683
Email: info@pro-cert.org
Website: https://www.pro-cert.org/

Quality Assurance International (QAI)
4370 La Jolla Village Drive Suite 300
San Diego, CA, 92122
Phone: (858) 792-3531 
Email: qai@qai-inc.com
Website: https://www.qai-inc.com/index.php

Quality Certification Services
5700 SW 34th St, Suite 349
Gainesville, FL, 32608
Phone: 352-377-0133
Fax: 352-377-8363
Email: qcs@qcsinfo.org
Website: https://qcsinfo.org/organicc/

SCS Global Services, Inc.
Azzia Walker
2000 Powell St. Suite 600
Emeryville, CA 94608
Phone: 510-452-8000
Phone: 510-776-4341
Fax: 510-452-8001
Email: info@scsglobalservices.com
Website: https://www.scsglobalservices.com/services/organic-certification

Where Food Comes From Organic (WFCF)
Vinod Nayagar
202 6th Street, Suite 400
Castle Rock, CO 80104
Phone: 303-895-3002
Email: info@wfcforganic.com
Website: https://www.wfcforganic.com/