Increasing Oversight Across the Organic Supply Chain

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service national organic program organic insider

Increasing Oversight Across the
Organic Supply Chain

This six-part series highlights changes outlined in the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) proposed rule and explains how they apply to members of the organic community, from farm to table.

These proposed changes significantly update the USDA organic regulations to strengthen oversight and enforcement throughout the organic supply chain. We need to hear from you and anyone who may be impacted by the SOE proposed rule.

SOE - Organic Community Benefit

Part One: Fewer Exemptions

The current regulations exempt some types of businesses from organic certification. This creates gaps in the supply chain where it’s harder for certifiers and the NOP to monitor and enforce the rules. SOE will limit exemptions by requiring organic certification of all businesses that:

  • Buy, sell, or trade organic products; or
  • Facilitate or negotiate the purchase, sale or trade of organic products between buyers and sellers.

This means that currently exempt businesses like brokers, traders, importers and exporters may need to be certified organic if they handle organic products, even if they never physically possess or take ownership of the organic products they help sell or trade.

Although SOE limits the types of activities that are exempt from organic certification, some businesses that perform only certain activities may remain exempt—including many retailers, transporters, and warehouses.

Limiting exemptions supports:

  • Verifiable, trusted relationships between organic farms and businesses.

  • Robust enforcement at critical links in organic supply chains.

Deadline for public comment

October 5, 2020 at 11:59pm Eastern.

Let us know how the proposed changes in the organic regulations will impact you, your farm or your business, and review comments from others at, linked from the AMS web page for SOE.

AMS Web Page for SOE

Includes links to the Federal Register announcement and
instructions on how to submit comments.


Up Next—Part Two of Six: Electronic NOP Import Certificates