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Three Sessions Scheduled for March in Preparation for ’05 Growing Season
For Immediate Release: February 16, 2005 Contact:

Lynne Richmond

(TRENTON) –The New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ) are sponsoring three workshops in March to assist farmers who are seeking organic certification.

Since the certification process can take four to six months, growers interested in selling organic products in the 2005 growing season will need to apply soon. Growers who would like to learn more about the requirements for certification and opportunities in the organic marketplace, are encouraged to attend one of the three sessions scheduled in Monmouth, Gloucester and Hunterdon Counties. The sessions are free but pre-registration is encouraged.

The information sessions will be held:

Monday, March 7, 1 to 3 p.m.

Monmouth County Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office
4000 Kozloski Rd.
Freehold, Monmouth County

Friday, March 18, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Gloucester County Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office
Conference Room C
1200 N. Delsea Dr.
Clayton, Gloucester County

Wednesday, March 23, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Snyder Research and Extension Farm
140 Locust Grove Rd.
Pittstown, Hunterdon County

To register for one of these sessions or for additional information on organic certification, contact Erich Bremer at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture at (609) 984-2225 or erich.bremer@ag.state.nj.us.

Since 2002, a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Accredited Certification Agent must certify any organic farmer or market gardener with annual sales over $5,000. Some farmers markets and most wholesale buyers also require certification of organic products. Farmers can choose to certify crops, livestock, or wild-harvested crops in any combination.

Application packets for organic certification are currently available through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. To request an application, growers must send $25 in check or money order (made out to NOFA-NJ) to Erich Bremer, Supervisor, Organic Certification Program, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Marketing and Development, PO Box 330, Trenton, NJ 08625. Applications include supporting documents, such as the USDA regulations for organic production and handling and the current Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) Generic Materials and Brand Name Products lists.

The certification program is currently operated cooperatively by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and NOFA-NJ, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of organic agriculture that is accredited as a certification agent by the USDA. More information concerning NOFA-NJ can be found on their website at www.nofanj.org.