Farm Certifications

What certifications are there for farms and farm products?


Certification Options

You don’t have to go organic to be river friendly, but meeting requirements for organic certifications can be a way to add value to your product and make your sustainability efforts worthwhile economically.  There are numerous certifications that you can seek, depending on your specific economic and environmental goals. Here are a few:


  • USDA Organic

    • Three classes of organic produce
      • 100% organic – all organic except water/salt
      • Organic – 95% organic, no GMOs or prohibited substances
      • Made with Organic Ingredients – 70% organic, requires identification of organic ingredients
    • Organic products are monitored by a USDA accredited certifier
    • Major requirements
      • No synthetic fertilizer, synthetic pesticides, or other synthetic products (some exceptions), sewage sludge, irradiation, or genetic engineering may be used.
      • Annual recertification required
      • Requirements apply to any producer with >$5,000 in gross sales who wishes to call their produce “organic”
    • Visit or contact National Organic Program


  • Certified Naturally Grown

    • Major requirements: No GMOs, synthetic chemicals, or processed foods, locally grown, small-scale (no corporate conglomerates)
    • Dues: $110/yr., w/ scholarship for new farmers CNG farming/scholarship
    • Uses peer-review process by other CNG farmers for certification
    • or 845-687-2058, org


  • Food Alliance

    • Food Alliance has certifications for crops, livestock, aquaculture, nursery/greenhouse production, and food handling.
    • The core goals of the certification program are to:
      • Protect, conserve and enhance soil, water, wildlife habitat and biodiversity
      • Conserve energy, reduce and recycle waste
      • Reduce use of pesticides and other toxic or hazardous materials
      • Maintain transparent and traceable supply chains
      • Support safe and fair working conditions
      • Guarantee food product integrity, with no genetically engineered or artificial ingredients
      • Ensure healthy, humane animal treatment
      • Ensure continual improvement of practices
    • Learn more at or contact 503-267-4667 or


River Friendly Farm Certification

The Cumberland River Compact is exploring the possibility of creating a certification program for farms that protect Tennessee’s rivers and streams.  If you would be interested in participating in such a program, please contact us at (615) 837-1151 or e-mail Alec Norman at


What are BMP’s?

How Can I Pay For BMPs?      

Who do I contact to learn more or get expert advice?

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