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In agriculture, farms use certifications as a formal way to confirm a claim or prove that a standard is being met. Certifications can apply to your entire farm, or to specific equipment, products or skills. Certifications are often used to add value to a product and in some cases are required to sell into certain markets.
Below you will find certifications that are available to farms. Whether you are interested in a certification listed here or another certification, make sure to thoroughly research the program to ensure it’s a good fit for your farm and farming practices.
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification covers basic environmental and operational best management practices to promote food safety in produce production. This certification is commonly required by wholesale and institutional buyers.
USDA Organic is a certification administered by the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA). To obtain this certification a farm must grow and process their products according to the standards set by the National Organic Program(NOP). This federal program develops National Standards used for Certified Organic agricultural products produced in the United States. To become certified a farm will work with a third party certifier that has been accredited through the NOP. These certifiers also enforce the rules of USDA Organic Certification.
To learn more about this program and organic regulations visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture information page for Organic Regulations
Animal Welfare Certifications
There are multiple Animal Welfare Certifications available to farmers in North Carolina. These certifications are usually species specific and can cover a wide range of topics related to the production and processing of livestock. A farmer wishing to obtain an animal welfare certification should research their available options and carefully study the requirements to become certified.
To learn more about animal welfare certification options visit the USDA Animal Welfare Audit and Certification Programs information Page
There are other certifications farmers can use to communicate their practices with consumers. This page provides an overview of other certifications that farmers may want to consider.