According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), California is the primary growth driver of U.S. organic farming representing more than 40 percent of all organic production in the United States. California also is the only state with its own organic program. Since 2009, the number of operations registered under the CDFA’s State Organic Program (SOP) has steadily grown — California organic acreage has increased by 46 percent since 2008.
To assist California avocado growers interested in becoming — or maintaining their status as — certified organic growers, the California Avocado Commission has compiled information and resources central to this process.
- Oversees the registration of California organic producers, handlers, processors and wholesalers
- Verifies registrants’ compliance with the organic program from production to point of sale
- Works with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and County Agricultural Commissioners on compliance and enforcement activities
- Ensures consumers are consuming agricultural products that meet state and federal organic standards
- Handles complaints against California organic operations
Two certifications are necessary to become an organic grower and sell commercially.
SOP maintains a database of relevant publications and documents of interest to organic growers, including information from the California Organic Products Advisory Committee, links to the Organic Program GMO Pilot Project and recommendations from the Organic Program Stakeholder Workgroup.
Organic producers can stay up to date on the latest news by subscribing to Organic Insider, an email notification service operated by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP). The service sends approximately 4 – 8 messages a month concerning organic agriculture.
Free online organic farmer training for specialty crops also is available online. Participants can complete the training at their own pace. Interested growers can complete an online form to receive a link to the free training program designed by the Organic Farming Research Foundation, the University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.