Homestead farming may seem like something from a bygone area, however, homestead farms are still alive and thriving, especially in Florida, where our mild climate means longer growing seasons. If you have a homestead farm, you could be thinking of becoming certified organic. Let’s take a look at the process of getting certified organic and some of the benefits.
Understanding Organic Certification
What Is Organic Certification?
Firstly, let’s define what organic certification is. It’s the certification process for producers of organic food and organic agricultural products. It verifies that your farm and/or handing facilitates are compliant with organic regulations and standards set by the certifying body.
Why Does Organic Certification Matter?
There are a number of reasons organic certification matters to you, and should you sell the goods you produce, your consumers as well. Being organic certified means you’ll have higher consumer trust, maintain better environmental stewardship, and gain access to organic markets you otherwise wouldn’t.
Eligibility for Organic Certification
Scale of Operation: Homestead Farms vs. Commercial Farms
Distinguishing between homestead and commercial farms will mostly come down to the scale of the operations. Homestead farms are, of course, much smaller and centered mainly on self-sufficiency and sustainability. This inherently aligns with organic principles. The process for certification for either farm type involves many of the same steps, but homesteaders will often find those steps far more manageable due to their scale and closer control over adjusting practices.
The Process of Organic Certification
Step-by-Step Guide to Apply for Organic Certification
Becoming organic certified in Florida has been a lot easier since 2001 after the Florida Organic Growers (FOG) worked with the U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA) to receive a USDA accreditation which allows them to certify farms. The program within the state is called Quality Certification Services (QCS). They provide information on the five steps needed to get your homestead organic certified.
- Complete and submit an organic system plan.
- QCS conducts an initial review of your organic system plan.
- QCS conducts an on-site inspection of your operation.
- QCS conducts a final review of your organic system plan and inspection report.
- QCS makes a certification decision for your operation. Certification needs to be renewed annually.
Maintaining Your Organic Certification
Annual Inspections and Reporting
Once certified, it’s important to maintain your organic certification status, which is done annually, so be sure to plan ahead. Prep all required paperwork a few months in advance so as not to have your farm’s certification lapse.
Renewing Your Organic Certification
The process for renewal is fairly straightforward and requires you do the following:
- Provide an annual update of your organic systems plan
- Complete an inspection of your operation
- Pay all fees associated with certification
Protecting your homestead is easy with Florida Farm Bureau Insurance. Speak with one of your agents and get a quote today and find out how our high-quality home insurance can fit your needs.