National Organic Program


The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 was enacted to create “national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products,” to assure consumers that “organically produced products meet a consistent standard,” and to facilitate “interstate commerce in fresh and processed food that is organically produced.” On December 21, 2000, the Agricultural Marketing Service, an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), published a final rule that implemented OFPA. The combination of OFPA and the final rule created the National Organic Program (NOP). Read the full overview

 Note: Recently added resources are posted at the top of the applicable sections.

Major Statutes

Organic Food Production Act of 1990, 7 U.S.C. §§ 6501-6524


National Organic Program Regulations, 7 C.F.R. Part 205

Organic Research, Promotion, and Information Order, 7 C.F.R. Part 1255

Case Law

Case Law Index for National Organic Program

Administrative Law Decisions

USDA Judicial Officer’s Decisions (Center Published)

USDA National Appeals Division

USDA Office of the Administrative Law Judges

USDA Office of the Judicial Officer

Center Research Publications

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule and Current Events

Food Labelling for Specialty Crop Producers (Rumley 2014)

Mandatory GMO Labeling Laws (Pittman 2014)

State-Specific Direct Marketing Business Guides (National AgLaw Center & U. IL @Urbana)

Federal Regulation of Organic Food: A Research Guide for Legal Practitioners and Food Industry Professionals (Jillian, 2006)

A Legal Guide to the National Organic Program (Pittman, 2004)

Farmers’ Markets Rules, Regulations, and Opportunities (Hamilton, 2002)

Congressional Research Service Reports

Reports– published and made available by CRS beginning in 2017

Subjects- published by CRS and made available by NALC until 2018:

Sustainable and Organic

Agricultural Law Bibliography

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Legal Publications on National Organic Program:

Biotechnology Food and Drug Law

Fruits and Vegetables – Perishable Agricultural Commodities

Hunger and Food Security Issues

Livestock and Packers & Stockyards

Sustainable and Organic Farming

Reference Resources

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Labeling of Pesticide Products Under the National Organic Program

National Ag Compliance Assistance Centers

National Organic Program Guidance

Organic Farming

Pesticide Registration

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Disaster Relief for Organic Farmers

Organic Certification Cost Share Program

Food Safety and Inspection Service

Claims Guidance

Compliance Assistance: Using the Claim “Certified Organic By … Certifying Entity” on Meat and Poultry Product Labeling

FSIS Labeling Guideline on Documentation Needed to Substantiate Animal Raising Claims for Label Submission

FSIS Responses to Questions From the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Regarding Organic Meat and Poultry Products Labeling

Labeling Guidance

Programs and Services

National Agricultural Library (NAL)

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

Organic Agriculture Information Access

Organic Agricultural Products: Marketing and Trade Resources (2003)

Organically Produced Foods: Food Safety Issues

Organic Production

Organic Production/Organic Food: Information Access Tools

USDA Programs

Natural Resources Conservation Series (NRCS)

Conservation and Biological Diversity in Organic Production (McEvoy & Haines)

EQIP Organic Initiatives

Organic Conservation Planning Guides

Organic Program

Organic Technical Assistance

Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, Version 2 (RUSLE2)

United States Department of Agriculture(USDA)

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

Briefing Room: Organic Agriculture

Fact Sheets

National Organic Program

National Organic Program Handbook

National Organic Standards Board

Organic Certification Cost Share Programs

Organic Enforcement

Organic Integrity Database

Organic Labeling

Organic Labeling Standards

Organic Livestock and Poultry Requirements

Organic Program Reports and Presentations

Organic Regulations

Organic Reports

Organic Standards

Publication: Characteristics, Costs, and Issues for Organic Dairy Farming (McBride & Greene, 2009)

Publication: Emerging Issues in the Organic Industry (Greene et al., 2009)

Technical and Financial Assistance for Organic Producers

The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances

USDA: Organic Program (Certification, Training, Data)

Congressional Resources

U.S. House Agriculture Committee

Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture

Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations

U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry

Subcommittee on Livestock, Marketing, and Agriculture Security

Subcommittee on Nutrition, Agricultural Research, and Specialty Crops

Other Federal Resources

Alcohol Beverages Labeled with Organic Claims (Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau)

Organic on Food Labels  (Food & Drug Administration)

Organic Products (Foreign Agricultural Service)

International Resources

Canada Certification Services (CCOF)

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements – IFOAM

Official Journal of The International Society of Organic Agricultural Research

One Cert International Organic Standards

Organic Agriculture (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations – FAO)

Quality Assurance International (QAI)

Washington Organic Guide to International Organic Markets (Washington State Dept. of Agriculture)

Additional Resources

Advancing Organic Agriculture in the U.S. (Center for Food Safety 2010)

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)

California Organic Program (California Dept. of Food & Agriculture)

Certified Maryland Organic (Maryland Dept. of Agriculture)

eOrganic (eXtension)

Local and Regional Food Systems: US (Cornell Univ.)

Missouri Organic Certification Cost Share Program (Missouri Dept. of Agriculture

National Organic Program Posts (Center Published Ag & Food Law Blog)

Oregon Tilth

Organic Agriculture (Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture)

Organic Crop Improvement Association

Organic Farming Research Foundation: Reports (OFRF)

Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

Organic Trade Association (OTA)

Organic Webinars (Conservation of Natural Resources Webinar Portal)

Rodale Institute

U.S. National Organic Program (Organic Trade Association)

Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Food Program


A Comparative Analysis of Conventional, Genetically Modified (GM) Crops and Organic Farming Practices and the Role of Pesticides in Each (Ehn & Fox, 2019)

Instruction : Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp Production (USDA 2019)

Legal Implications of “Organic” Seafood Labeling Based on Foreign Standards(Porter & Kulaga 2019)

Trademark Law and the National Organic Program (Reid, 2019)

USDA Clarifies Meat and Poultry Labeling Claims (Brasher, 2019)

Crop Insurance for Organic Farmers (Univ. of Vermont 2018)

Electronic Trade Document Exchange (eTDE) Organic Module (USDA 2018)

Farm Bill Drilldown: Organic Agriculture (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 2018)

Organic Farmers in Disasters: Flooding and Whole Farm Revenue Crop Insurance (Farmers’ Legal Action Group – FLAG Inc. 2018)

Organic Regulations and Resources (Ernst, Univ. of Kentucky Extension 2018)

The World of Organic Agriculture 2019: Summary (Organics Intl. 2019)

What’s Behind the Organic Seal? Organic Labels Explained (USDA 2018)

Growing Organic, State by State (Berkeley Food Systems 2017)

The World of Organic Agriculture: Statistics & Emerging Trends 2019 (Organics Intl. 2019)

Transitioning to Organic Certification (Rakola, 2017)

Guidebook for Organic Certification (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service 2016)

Organic Certification Procedures Manual (Organic Certifiers 2016)

“Sunset Review” Process of the National Organic Standards Board (Austin & Granastein, Washington State Univ. 2016)

Economic Barriers to Organic Transition (California Certified Organic Farmers 2015)

Frequently Asked Questions for Organic Certification (Texas Dept. of Agriculture 2015)

Profit Potential of Certified Organic Field Crop Production (Economic Research Service 2015)

Vegetable Farmer’s Guide to Organic Certification (National Young Farmers Coalition 2014)

Guidebook for Organic Livestock Producers (USDA 2012)

Organic Agriculture and the Law  (FAO 2012)

Transitioning to Organic Farm Systems (Wszelaki et al., Univ. of Tennessee Extension 2012)

Navigating the National Organic Program  (Maryland Dept. of Agriculture 2009)

Hushed Up: Confidentiality Clauses in Organic Milk Contracts (Krueger, 2008)

Organic Agriculture in the United States: Program and Policy Issues (Library of Congress 2008)

Organics Plus: Regulating Beyond the Current Organic Standards (Harrison, 2008)

When Your Processor Requires More Than Organic Certification: Additional Requirements in Organic Milk Contracts (Krueger, 2008)

Federal Law Protects Farmers’ Rights to be Paid for Fruit and Vegetable Contracts (FLAG Inc. 2007)

If Your Farm Is Organic, Must It Be GMO-Free? Organic Farmers, Genetically Modified Organisms, and the Law (Krueger, 2007)

Understanding Farmers’ Rights to be Paid for Fruit and Vegetable Crops (FLAG Inc. 2007)

Future Issues in Agricultural Law and Rural Practice (Hamilton, 2006)

Of Affected Acres and Alternative Markets: Which Way for Organic Farmers? (Krueger, 2006)

Understanding Farmers’ Market Rules (Spicer & Krueger, 2006)

Before You Sign on the Dotted Line. . .Questions for Farmers to Ask Before Entering Into a Direct Marketing Agreement (Krueger, 2005)

Soil Management: National Organic Program Regulations (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas – ATTRA 2005)

National Organic Program: Checklist for Producers (ATTRA, 2003)

Organic Farm Certification & the National Organic Program (ATTRA, 2002)

Recent Growth Patterns in the U.S. Organic Foods Market (ERS 2002)

Summary: The USDA National Organic Program Requirements for Food Retailers and Distribution Centers (Food Marketing Institute, October 2002)

USDA National Organic Program Requirements for Food Retailers and Distribution Centers (Food Marketing Institute 2002)

Codex Alimentarius – Organically Produced Foods (FAO, 2001)

Accreditation of Organic Certification Bodies (AMS)

Accreditation Policies and Procedures (AMS)

A Guide for Conventional Farmers Transitioning to Organic Certification (AMS)

Marketing and Food Systems in Organic Production (eXtension)

Guidelines for Organic Crop Certification (USDA)

Implementation of National and International Organic Certification and Labeling Standards (Sullivan)

Introduction to Crop Insurance for Organic and Transitioning Producers (OFRF) (2019)

Organic Certification Process (Rainey et al., Univ. of Arkansas)

Organic Farming Compliance Handbook: A Resource Guide for Western Region Agricultural Professionals (Baker et al., Western Region USDA SARE Program)

Organic Farming, Drift, and the Law (ENR)

Organic Integrity in the Supply Chain (USDA)

Organic Labeling at Farmers Markets (USDA)

Organic Livestock Requirements (USDA)

Organic Produce, Price Premiums, and Eco-Labeling in U.S. Farmers Markets (ERS)

Organic Regulation, Certification, Transition & History Publications (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service)

Using the USDA Organic Seal (USDA)