Yolo Certified Organic Agriculture

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 Introduction


Welcome to YCOA!  The Yolo County Agriculutral Commissioner's office is one of the few counties in California to offer an organic certification program to qualified agricultural producers and handlers.  The concept to create an organic certification agency within the Agricultural Commissioner's office was developed by the Agriculutral Commissioner's staff, and the Marin Organic Certified Agriculture staff.  Yolo Certified Organic Agriculture (YCOA) was created and inspired by the community it serves: local growers and consumers.  The certification standards used by YCOA are the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP).  YCOA is a USDA accredited certification agency.

"Organic" is a systems approach to production and handling.  Organic certification is a process that approves a production/handling system, not a specific product.  The issuance of a "certificate of organic operation" is the equivalent of a legal license.  In order to earn this certificate, it is imperative that everything be done in a totally transparent manner.   Certification verifies compliance with organic standards and documents the operational practices of a sustainable agricultural system.  YCOA was created to provide organic certification at a local level.

Purpose

YCOA's purpose is to promote and support organic agriculture through a certification program in Yolo County and potentially in neighboring counties.  YCOA will offer its certification to organic operations that meet the requirements of the federal Organic Food Production Act of 1990 (Act or OFPA), as amended (7 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.), and the National Organic Program regulations issued pursuant thereto.  The areas of operation in which applicants may seek to be certified are crops, livestock, wild crop harvesting, or handling, or any combination of these.

Program Objectives:

  • Provide a service that verifies through certification the authenticity of agricultural products marketed as organically grown.
  • Enhance the credibility of organic agriculture as a sustainable system.
  • Enhance the preservation of our environment to optimize the health of microorganisms, plants, animals and people.
  • Assure consumers that organically produced products adhere to the National Organic Program laws and standards.
  • Facilitate commerce in fresh and processed food that is organically produced.
  • Encourage and promote organic agriculture in the County of Yolo.

The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole.  The methods used in organic farming minimize pollution of the air, soil and water.  The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of independent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.

Background

The Agricultural Commissioner's office has provided service to consumers and the agricultural industry in Yolo County for more than 100 years.   Everyone benefits by receiving the best quality food and fiber available with the added assurance of safety and full disclosure of products produced.

Other functions of the Agricultural Commissioner's office include pesticide use enforcement, plant quarantine inspections, pest management, biological control, integrated pest management (IPM), phytosanitary inspections, insect and weed detection, and nursery inspections, in addition to weights and measures inspections.   These functions contribute to the operation of a successful organic certification program.

Consumer demand for certified organic products is increasing, with an annual growth rate of more than 20 percent per year.  There is an expectation by consumers that organic products are verifiable.  YCOA is one certification agency among other governmental and private certification agencies representing California organic interests and insuring organic integrity.

The Yolo Certified Organic Agriculture program has been developed to provide a professional service to individuals and operations engaged in the production and distribution of organically grown commodities.  Certification verifies compliance with organic standards and documents the operation practices of a sustainable agricultural system.

Each participant in this program is viewed as a unique entity.  Because YCOA recognizes that no two operations are identical, each entity is provided with a high level of individual service to assure the operation meets the organic standards of the National Organic Program and the principles of sustainalbe agriculture.

Click here to be directed to the Forms and Handouts page

For more information on the Yolo Certified Organic Agriculture program -click here