How to Get USDA Certifications

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The USDA, or United States Department of Agriculture, serves a variety of functions. It maintains the national forests, maintains food safety and informs the public about nutritional information regarding the foods they eat. Getting a USDA certification is important for any business dealing in agricultural products as it shows that they have inspected your goods and deemed them safe to consume.

  • Find a USDA certifying agent in your area by going to the USDA website (see resource links).

  • List the types of products that you are growing and calculate your annual income from these products. If you are receiving less than $5,000 per year from the sale of your products, certification isn't necessary.

  • Keep records on the three-year history of the products that you are producing. This includes the type of hormones (for livestock) that you are using; fertilizers; pesticides; and any other type of chemicals that you have used to grow your products during the past 36 months. Also, make a list of products that you intend to grow in the coming years and the types of fertilizers and chemicals that you will require to grow them.

  • Submit this information to the USDA agent in your area. You should submit the list of products that you have been growing, the annual income from these plants, the substances that you have used for the past 36 months and your future plans.

  • Undergo annual inspections. Once you become certified, the USDA can make unannounced visits in order to ensure that you are complying with their standards.

     

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