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 Office of the Administrative Law Judges

USDA Office of the Judicial Officer

USDA National Appeals Division

USDA Judicial Officer’s Decisions (Center published)

Center Research Publications

The Current State of Organic Aquaculture in the United States (Nichols 2019)


Mandatory GMO Labeling Laws (Pittman 2014)

Food Labelling for Specialty Crop Producers (Rumley 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

Introduction   |   Keyword Search   |   Browse Categories

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)

National Ag Compliance Assistance Centers

Organic Farming

National Organic Program Guidance

Pesticide Registration

Labeling of Pesticide Products Under the National Organic Program

United States Department of Agriculture(USDA)

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

National Organic Program Handbook

Organic Enforcement

Organic Certification Cost Share Programs

Organic Reports

National Organic Standards Board

Technical and Financial Assistance for Organic Producers

Fact Sheets

Organic Program Reports and Presentations

Organic Labeling Standards

Organic Livestock and Poultry Requirements

Organic Integrity Database

National Organic Program

USDA: Organic Program (Certification, Training, Data)

Organic Labeling

Organic Regulations

Organic Standards

The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances

Briefing Room: Organic Agriculture

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

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

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Organic Certification Cost Share Program

Disaster Relief for Organic Farmers

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Labeling Guidance

Programs and Services

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

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

National Agricultural Library (NAL)

Organically Produced Foods: Food Safety Issues

Organic Production

USDA Programs 

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

Organic Agriculture Information Access

Organic Production/Organic Food: Information Access Tools

Organic Agricultural Products: Marketing and Trade Resources (2003)


Natural Resources Conservation Series (NRCS)

Organic Program

Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation, Version 2 (RUSLE2)

Organic Technical Assistance

EQIP Organic Initiatives

Conservation and Biological Diversity in Organic Production 

Organic Conservation Planning Guides

Congressional Resources

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

Subcommittee on Nutrition, Agricultural Research, and Specialty Crops

Subcommittee on Livestock, Marketing, and Agriculture Security

U.S. House Agriculture Committee

Other Federal Resources

Organic Products (Foreign Agricultural Service)

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

Organic on Food Labels (Food & Drug Administration)

International Resources

Quality Assurance International (QAI)

Washington Organic Guide to International Organic Markets (WSDA)

Canada Certification Services (CCOF)

One Cert International Organic Standards

Organic Agriculture (FAO)

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements – IFOAM

Additional Resources

Organic Webinars (Conservation of Natural Resources Webinar Portal)

Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

California Organic Program (CA Dept. of Food & Ag.)

Rodale Institute

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)

Organic Trade Association (OTA)

Oregon Tilth

Missouri Organic Certification Cost Share Program (MDA)

eOrganic (eXtension)

Certified Maryland Organic (MTA)

Local and Regional Food Systems: US (Cornell)

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

Organic Farming Research Foundation: Reports (OFRF)

National Organic Program Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)

Organic Farming Research Foundation

Organic Crop Improvement Association

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

Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Food Program

Organic Agriculture (MN Dept. of Ag.)


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

Profit Potential of Certified Organic Field Crop Production (ERS 2015)

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

Organic Labeling at Farmers Markets (USDA)

Using the USDA Organic Seal (USDA)

Organic Integrity in the Supply Chain (USDA)

Organic Farming, Drift, and the Law (ENR)

Organic Agriculture and the Law (FAO 2012)

Supporting Growth for Sustainability to Reach Beyond Borders (Or. Tilth)

USDA National Organic Program Certification (Ecocert ICO)

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

USDA National Organic Program Regulations (NOFA-NY)

How Organic Farming is Codified in Regulations (Seufert, Ramankutty, and Mayerhofer 2016)

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

The World of Organic Agriculture 2018: Summary (Organics Int. 2018)

The Word of Organic Agriculture: Statistics & Emerging Trends 2017 (Organics International 2017)

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

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

Accreditation of Organic Certification Bodies (AMS)

Accreditation Policies and Procedures (AMS)

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

Organic Certification Procedures Manual (Organic Certifiers 2016)

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

“Sunset Review” Process of the National Organic Standards Board (WSU 2016)

Guidebook for Organic Certification (MOSES 2016)

Organic Certification Process (Univ. of Ark.)

Trademark Law and the National Organic Program (Reid 2019)

Organic Livestock Requirements

Navigating the National Organic Program (MDA 2009)

Guidebook for Organic Livestock Producers (USDA 2012)

Guidelines for Organic Crop Certification (USDA)

Soil Management: National Organic Program Regulations (ATTRA 2005)

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

Organic Regulations and Resources  (Ernst, University of Kentucky 2018)

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

Transitioning to Organic Farm Systems (UT Extension 2012)

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

Economic Barriers to Organic Transition (CCOF 2015)

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

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

Direct Marketing Channels & Strategy for Organic Products (eXtension)

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

When Your Processor Requires More Than Organic Certification: Additional Requirements in Organic Milk Contracts

Organic Farmers in Disasters: Flooding and Whole Farm Revenue Crop Insurance (FLAG 2018)

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

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

Understanding Farmers’ Market Rules (FLAG, 2006)

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

Future Issues in Agricultural Law and Rural Practice (FLAG CLE seminar, 2006)

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. National Organic Program Standards: Implications for Researchers (American Phytopathological Society)

Organic Farm Certification & the National Organic Program (Kuepper, Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas – ATTRA, 2002)

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

Codex Alimentarius – Organically Produced Foods (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations – FAO, 2001)