Organic certification means anyone who produces, processes or handles organic agricultural products must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifier in order to sell, label or represent their products as "organic." Organic certification is not a guaranty of quality or purity of the product. Rather, it is evidence of the operation's adherence to a prescribed system of agriculture and food production.
The Maryland Organic Certification Program (MOCP) is designed to provide assurance to consumers who purchase organic products that the products were grown according to the national organic standards. The Maryland Department of Agriculture is accredited by the USDA for compliance with the National Organic Program.
Crop and livestock operations in Maryland are eligible for certification by MOCP to National Organic Program standards. MOCP does not certify individual organic processing/handling operations. Additional information about initial or renewal certification is found below.
The Farm Bill provides funding to assist with the costs of organic certification. Producers and handlers certified by USDA accredited certifiers are eligible to receive reimbursement for 75% of certification fees, up to a maximum of $750 per scope. Maryland producers must submit the Cost Share Application to MDA Organic Certification Program to receive the reimbursement. Reimbursement cannot be issued until the producer is issued a certificate. Non MDA certified producers must be in Maryland and submit a copy of their certification fees invoice with their cost share application to receive reimbursement.