California Organic Program

1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814  •  916-900-5030  •  Fax: 916-900-5347  •
Oranges, Avocados, Apples, Eggplant

CDFA’s Organic Program is responsible for enforcement of the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, and the California Organic Food and Farming Act of 2016. These statutes protect consumers, producers, handlers, processors and retailers by establishment of standards under which fresh agricultural products/foods may be labeled and/or sold as "organic". The California Department of Public Health enforces laws pertaining to processed products marketed as "organic".

Enforcement activities are coordinated with the California Organic Products Advisory Committee, the USDA and California County Agricultural Commissioners. Activities include: program administration, County biologist training, initiation of complaint investigation, registration of private certification organizations, and act as an information resource on the California Organic Food and Farming Act and California’s organic industry.

CDFA’s Organic Program is funded entirely by industry registration fees, a portion of which is used to support County enforcement activities.

Organic Registration

Every person engaged in the state of California in the production or handling of raw agricultural products sold as organic, and retailers that are engaged in the production of products sold as organic, and retailers that are engaged in the processing, as defined by the NOP, of products sold as organic, shall register with the State Organic Program. If the expected organic gross sales exceed $5,000, certification is required.

New and Amended Organic Registrations

New and Amended applications for organic registration must be completed, submitted, and approved prior to the first sale of the product. Amended applications are also required for any organic land additions to the operation.

Producers/Handlers/Processors should register their organic operations at least 14-21 days prior to the sale of their first organic product.

Renewing Organic Registration

Each organic registrant must annually renew the registration unless no longer engaged in the activities requiring the registration. The State Organic Program will issue a renewal application 30 days prior to the expiration of the registration.

California State Organic Program has a NEW Online Registration Website. For quick and easy online registration, please select the "Online Registration" link below.

Online Registration

California State Organic Program Registration Guide

This chart is intended to assist organic applicants in identifying the appropriate agency to contact in regard to organic registration.

Becoming Organic Certified

In accordance with the California Organic Food and Farming Act of 2016 and the National Organic Program, if your annual gross sales are more than $5,000.00 you are required by law to be certified.

Attached is a list of accredited certification agencies in the state of California.

Cost Share Program

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided funds from the National Farm Bill to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to be distributed to operations that have been certified organic by a USDA accredited certifier. This program is intended to help offset costs of obtaining organic certification.

The applicant must submit the application form(s) along with a copy(s) of certification and copy(s) of the associated expenses required to obtain and/or maintain certification and the completed form STD 204 within the allotted time frame (see application requirements). Cost share applications are paid on a first come first served basis.

Downloadable PDF forms for applications submitted by mail are below:

Cost Share Application Packet

Organic Complaints

A complaint may be filed by any person alleging a violation or problem with an organic product or production process. The California State Organic Program (SOP) accepts complaints via phone, email, fax, or mail. SOP staff determines the appropriate entity to resolve the issue, e.g., accredited certifying agency personnel, county agricultural commissioner personnel, SOP inspectors, court administrators, or arbitration specialists.

Appeals and Settlement Agreements

Under the California Organic Food and Farming Act of 2016 (COFFA), organic operations have the right to appeal decisions made by certifying agents and the State Organic Program (SOP). These appeals may result in settlement agreements. Select the link below to view settlement agreements.

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) - USDA's AFSIC staff have developed the following informational briefs in response to a significant level of interest: