NOFA/Mass offers consulting for those who need help with their application for organic certification for crops, livestock, poultry, eggs, wild crops, mushrooms, sprouts, processed product and cranberries.
After initial consultation, fees for assistance will be $25/hour for NOFA/Mass members; $50/hour for non-members.
One of the important reasons organic farmers organized NOFA chapters, in the days before the 1990 passage of the Organic Foods Production Act, was to have a mechanism that could certify organic producers. NOFA/Mass set up a farm certification program in 1986 and operated it until 2002, when the National Organic Program came into existence. At that point the chapter decided to split off and separately incorporate its certification program so that the organization could remain independent of federal control. In 2004, the NOFA/Mass Certification Program changed its name to Baystate Organic Certifiers.
Baystate Organic Certifiers is a USDA National Organic Program accredited certifying agent that certifies farm operations in the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic United States and processing operations in the Continental United States.
USDA Sound & Sensible Resources: NOFA/Mass, Baystate Organic Certifiers and other farming and certifying organizations took part in the Sound & Sensible program which helped tp create many new tools for operations interested in gaining certification for their farm operation. The link below will take you to a video that will outline all of these new tools.
Want to get your farm certified organic and don’t know where to start? Stuck on portions of the organic application for certification? New to your farm and want to start your farming career as certified organic? Don’t let the myths of organic certification prevent you from giving your customers the confidence they have come to expect in the certified organic label.
NOFA/Mass has been around for more than 30 years educating organic farming techniques and once upon a time prior to 2002 they use to certify farms as well. We leave the certifying and inspecting up to Baystate Organic Certifiers. Because they are a regulatory body, they cannot consult, educate, advise you on certification as much as they would like to. So they trained NOFA/Mass on the ins and outs of the organic system plans and enabled us to help you. Continued education with Baystate will also address any gaps in knowledge we may experience along the way. So if we don’t have the answer, rest assured we will find one.
In 2014-15 NOFA/Mass and Baystate Organic Certifiers completed some project work that was funded by the USDA Sound & Sensible program. Please check out some of our local farms and certified operations on this video.
Baystate Organic Certifiers has also authored some great “How To” Modules that will highlight specific areas of focus for transitioning.
There are many more Sound & Sensible tools that have been developed by other farming and certifying organizations throughout the country. Check out our resources page.
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Laura Davis is a NOFA/Mass Board Member and the Certification Assistance Coordinator and is owner and farmer at Long Life Farm in Hopkinton, MA a diversified vegetable farm that was certified organic in April 2013 by Baystate Organic Certifiers. Laura is also an Organic Inspector of farms and processors. Please see an article that appeared in the NOFA/Mass newsletter about why I chose to certify. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-596-1651 with your inquiries. I look forward to hearing from you!