Farm Certifications

Organic carrots. (Copyright IStock)There are many different types of certifications. Farmers who wish to achieve certification status in a specific production or management practice must meet and maintain a certification program’s unique set of standards or requirements. Certified farms usually brand and market their products with the program's certified label.

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

Serves as a starting place for entrepreneurs who are considering an organic enterprise and for producers of organic commodities who are researching potential markets and marketing schemes. Discusses the history of organic agriculture and related legislation, and identifies relevant information sources.

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

Federal guidelines for grading and certification of a variety of agricultural products including fresh fruits, vegetables, specialty crops, processed fruits and vegetables, cotton and tobacco.

USDA. NAL. Animal Welfare Information Center.

Provides information about programs which offer inspection, certification and labeling programs for meat, poultry, egg and dairy products from animals raised to humane care and handling standards.

Fair Trade Sustainability Alliance.

Offers global and domestic (U.S.) fair trade standards for agricultural products, processed food, personal care products, and handicrafts.

Consumer Reports. Greener Choices.

Greener Choices tests, reviews and reports on information shoppers are "likely to see printed on a food’s label, including the claims and seals that address sustainable agriculture, animal welfare, and fair pay and working conditions for farmworkers." You can search by label name or labeling information, and compare labels using "report cards."

USDA's National Organic Program Final Rule of the Organic Foods Production Act defined the term "organic" and set standards for U.S. production and handling of agricultural products.

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

"Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on a partnership between producers and consumers." [Source: Fairtrade International]