WASHINGTON, D.C. — Effective oversight and enforcement of the Department of Agriculture organic regulations start with robust communication. In 2020, four certifiers stood out for their open, consistent and effective communications with the National Organic Program (NOP). These certifiers held regular, candid discussions with NOP accreditation managers and auditors on a wide range of issues and day-to-day operations.
This higher level of engagement provides NOP staff increased real-time insight into the hands-on application of the USDA organic regulations. “The extra effort by these certifiers gave us practical insights and builds consistency in how certifiers apply the USDA organic regulations to farms and businesses located around the world," said NOP Accreditation Division Director Robert Yang.
For their outstanding contributions to work in organic certification, the 2021 National Organic Program Director’s Award winners are:
- Agricultural Services Certified Organic (ASCO) - Salinas, Calif.
- Certification of Environmental Standards GmbH (CERES) - Happurg, Germany
- CCOF Certification Services (CCOF) - Santa Cruz, Calif.
- Midwest Organic Services Association (MOSA) - Viroqua, Wis.
The NOP develops and enforces voluntary standards for organically produced agricultural products sold in the United States. Established by Congress to operate as a public-private partnership with third party organizations called certifiers, the NOP accredits and oversees certifiers who have inspectors located around the world. Certifiers play a critical role in protecting the USDA organic seal and supporting farmers who integrate biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.