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. §§ 6501-6522


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

Federal Register Rules Open for Comment

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

Center published USDA Judicial Officer’s Decisions

Center Research Publications

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

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)

National Organic Program

USDA: Organic Program (Certification, Training, Data)

Organic Labeling

Organic Regulations

Organic Standards

The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances

Economic Research Service (ERS)

Briefing Room: Organic Agriculture

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

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

Environmental Protection Agency

National Ag Compliance Assistance Centers

Organic Farming

Labeling of Pesticide Products Under the National Organic Program

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

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

Other Federal Resources

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center

Organic Agriculture Information Access

Organic Production/Organic Food: Information Access Tools

Organic Agricultural Products: Marketing and Trade Resources (2003)

Organic Products (Foreign Agricultural Service)

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

Disaster Relief for Organic Farmers


Additional Resources

National Organic Program Posts (Ag & Food Law Blog)

Organic Farming Research Foundation

Organic Crop Improvement Association

One Cert International Organic Standards

Organic Agriculture (FAO)

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements – IFOAM

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

Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Food Program

Organic Agriculture (MN Dept. of Ag.)


Direct Marketing Channels & Strategy for Organic Products

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

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

Disaster Readiness and Recovery: Legal Considerations for Organic Farmers (FLAG, 2007)

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)