According to National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Texas had 178 certified organic farms in 2014, with only 0.07% of total farms in Texas certified organic. In comparison, California showed 2,632 certified organic farms with 3.38% of total farms certified organic.
The gap between consumer demand and the supply of Texas grown organic food is wide and growing. Texas consumers spend over a billion dollars per year on organic food and only a tiny percentage of this is grown within the state. This represents a large missed economic opportunity.
The entire process for organic certification requires 90-120 days. Applicants are encouraged to submit required documentation and fee payment "well in advance of actually needing certification." Additionally, documentation and fee payment should be received by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) "3 months before the harvest of first organic crop." Refer to the TDAs form GUIDANCE ON SUBMITTING NEW APPLICATIONS TO TDA for more information.
Texas Department of Agriculture Organic Certification Handbook is a great place to start for growers interested in organic certification. The Texas Department of Agriculture website contains complete information for certification from start to finish, including information about funding opportunities such as the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (NOCCSP). Additionally, the Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association provides information and support for Texas organic growers www.tofga.org
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