The Organic Industry Standards and Certification Council (OISCC), which sets the National Standard for Organic and Bio-dynamic Produce in Australia, has approved a proposal allowing producers to be fully certified organic after one year of inspections, providing they can verify that the property has been under organic management for the previous three years. Producers will need to present farm documents and management plans as evidence.
It currently takes three years for a farmer or grazier to achieve organic certification; this includes a year of ‘pre certification’ and two years of ‘in conversion’ until achieving full certification in the third year.
Australia’s largest and most recognised organic certification body Australian Certified Organic welcomes the change.
Its Chief Certification Officer Michael Baker says it brings Australia’s organic standards in line with international standards.
He says, “This is an exciting development and is especially good news for certified organic producers who want to add additional land to their operations.
“It would make Australian organic producers more competitive on the international market and give producers converting to organic a market to sell ‘in conversion’ produce.”
The Australian Certified Organic Standard will be updated to include the change.
Michael says it’s important that this change is not seen to give producers short cuts to organic certification, rather it reduces bureaucracy.
“They still need to manage the property according to the Australian Certified Organic Standard and they need to prove that they’ve been operating the farm organically for three years.
“Under organic certification initial soil tests are taken on farms and they’re audited each year to make sure the property and its management complies with the Australian Certified Organic Standard,” Michael says.
Producers who are currently in-conversion with Australian Certified Organic will have their status reviewed.
For more information call Australian Certified Organic on 07 3350 5716 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media: Kathy Cogo 0466 015 183, email@example.com.