Overview

Organic agriculture uses natural occurring substances and methods for controlling pests and fertility management, rather than relying on synthetically compounded chemicals. The Idaho Department of Agriculture (ISDA) supports farmers who wish to take advantage of opportunities in this market by administering the Organic Certification program. Information on this page is summarized from the ISDA site, which should be consulted for the most current information. The Idaho Certified Organic Directory is also available from the ISDA.

In order to be sold as Organic, products must meet the provisions of Idaho Organic Food Products Law. Idaho statute (Title 22, Chapter 11) defines "organically grown food products" as those which are "produced without the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, or growth regulators for a period not less than thirty-six (36) months prior to harvest." The Idaho organic law includes all agricultural, horticultural, viticulture and vegetable products of the soil and apiary and apiary products, as well as poultry and poultry products, livestock and livestock products, dairy products and aquaculture products.

There is a "transitional" status for crops grown with approved organic materials and practices for at least 12 months, but for less than the 36 months required for "certified" approval. Transitional products must meet all other criteria for organic certification except that no prohibited substances can be used for 12 months prior to the appearance of flower buds for perennial crops and prior to seeding or transplanting for annual or 2 year crops and throughout the entire growing season.

The University of Idaho also has a website for sustainable agriculture, with a section focused specifically on small farms.

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How does certification work?

Those with annual gross income from organic sales of $5000 or less have two options: registration only, and certification/registration. Registration only does not require an organic system plan On-site inspection is not required but the ISDA may conduct a random inspection. Certification requires an organic system plan and an on-site inspection. Producers and handlers with gross income from organic sales of more than $5000 must be Certified.

For either option, complete the Application for Organic Producer/Handler Registration/Certification. You will need all applicable records, such as field activity records, input labels and records, application data, harvest, yield and sales records, vaccination records, etc. ready for review at the time of inspection.

The ISDA Organic Certification information includes a list of forms, reports and publications, including the Organic Producer/Handler Application Form, Crop Inspection Application Form, Organic Crop Plan Questionnaire, Organic Livestock Inspection Application Form, Organic Livestock Plan Questionnaire and sample recordkeeping forms.

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What is the Organic System Plan?

The Organic System Plan is a written management plan, including the questionnaires listed above, plans, field maps and field histories. You can use the ISDA Organic Recordkeeping form or your own forms as long as they contain the same information.

What materials and practices are allowed, and probhibited?

Lists of approved and prohibited materials and practices for Organic Pest Control (insects, weeds, disease and vertebrates), and for Organic Fertilizer (fertilizers, growth promoters and soil amendments) are available on this site.

Foods grown organically in Idaho

Alfalfa Hay Garlic Squash
Apples Herbs Sweet Corn
Barley Legume mixes (dried) Wheat
Barley Beverage Onions Wild Rice (lakebed)
Beans Oyster Mushrooms
Carrots Potatoes

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Whom do I contact for more information?

See the ISDA Organic Certification Program contacts page.