Organic Certification Requirements

The Texas Department of Agriculture’s Organic Certification Program certifies food and fiber crops produced under an organic farming system of ecological soil management that relies on building humus levels through crop rotations, recycling organic wastes, and applying balanced mineral amendments. Organic crops are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and synthetic herbicides.

Certification Classifications

  • Organic- requires three years without the use of prohibited materials
  • Transitional- applies to crops harvested beginning 12 months after the last application of a prohibited material, until three-year requirement is met.

Certification Requirements

Requirements for all applicants:

  • Submit a completed application form (TDA Q696) with all required supporting documentation.
  • Pay applicable fees
  • On-site inspection to verify compliance
  • Residue testing of producers
  • Program review and evaluation

Supporting Documentation- Producers

Farm History

  • Complete three-year history of agricultural use, supported by documentation (affidavits from owner, FSA production records).
  • Three-year material use history (including allowed, restricted and prohibited materials).

Farm Maps

  • Aerial maps, soil maps, FSA maps, printed county maps, or hand drawn farm map.
  • Buffer Zones: 25-ft (minimum) from other cultivated agricultural land. 50 feet (minimum) from prohibited material use.
  • Buffer zones must be shown on farm maps.

Test Results

  • Soil fertility and organic matter
  • Water quality (if irrigation is used)

Record keeping system:

  • Maintain records of production practices, materials use, harvest dates, yields, product inventory and sales, accessible to the department upon request.

Farm Management Plan:

  • Soil improvement: Increase organic matter content through crop rotation, cover cropping, manuring, and composting.
  • Water conservation: Irrigation scheduling, application rates and intervals, and soil and crop moisture utilization.
  • Current crop production plan: crops and growing season for each field.
  • Weed control: Prevention through crop rotation, cover cropping, mulching and smother cropping.
  • Insect control: IPM approach, using resistant varieties, planting dates, crop selection, rotation, trap cropping and intercropping.
  • Disease control: Use resistant varieties, time planting to avoid pest emergence, intercropping, crop rotations, and proper fertilization.
  • Harvest, handling and storage of crops.

Supporting Documentation- Retailers

  • Description of business, type of organic products sold, and sources.
  • Record Keeping: Maintain complete, auditable records for one year of suppliers, purchases and sales.
  • Proof of certification of all organic or transitional products and name of certifier.
  • Description of display and labeling/signage for organic products.
  • Management procedures to prevent commingling or contamination of organic products during storage, handling and display.
  • Sanitation and pest control procedures designed to prevent contamination of organic products.

Supporting Documentation- Processors and Distributors

  • A description of physical facilities and processing or handling operation and procedures
  • Description of products manufactured or handled
  • A schematic flow-chart displaying movement of organic product.
  • Organic product labels (if applicable).
  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system plan.
  • Record keeping system providing adequate audit trail for organic products.
  • Sanitation and pest control procedures designed to prevent contamination of organic products.


The Texas Department of Agriculture
Regulatory Programs Division
Organic Certification Program
P. O. Box 12847
Austin, TX 78711

Contact the Organic Certification Program by email at or by phone at 512/ 463-7400. For more information or for an application packet visit the TDA website at For complete organic regulations and all TDA approved products, call TDA at 1-800-TELL-TDA. For the hearing impaired, call Relay Texas at 1-800-2988 (voice) or 1-800-735-2989 (TDD).

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