An accredited certifying agent is an individual or other entity accredited by the National Organic Program (NOP) who is allowed to certify producers and handlers of agricultural products. NOP accredits private businesses, organizations and state agencies who follow guidelines and regulations set fourth by the NOP.
An accredited certifying agent can be state-based, nationally based and some function as foreign agents. Agents performs various tasks such as certifying businesses, farms and individuals wishing to go certified organic, evaluating qualifications for certification, conducting annual reviews of the parties they certify and offer guidance in correcting any deficiencies with the parties they serve. Certifying agents make decisions based directly on NOP regulations.
Individuals wishing to become an accredited certifying agent must fill out an application found at the NOP website.
A farmer wishing to become certified organic must go through the organic certification process with an accredited certifying agent. It's up to the farmer to choose an appropriate accredited certifying agent.