Serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky

Organic Program

Welcome to the Montana Department of Agriculture Organic Certification Program

Organic certification verifies that producers or handling facilities comply with organic regulations and allows producers to sell, label, and represent their products as organic. The Montana Department of Agriculture Organic Program certifies producers and handlers of organic crops and provides export inspections services.

Does my Business Need Organic Certification?

All crops or products that are sold, labeled, or represented as organic must be certified unless the operation is  exempt or excluded from certification .

Examples of exempt and excluded operations include: 

  • Operations that gross less than $5,000 annually from organic products.
  • Retail food establishments.
  • Handlers that produce products with less than 70% organic ingredients.
  • Handlers that produce products with organic claims limited to the information panel, or ingredient list only.

The USDA National Organic Program has developed a  factsheet  to help businesses determine if they need to be certified.

Organic Certification Process

There are five steps to organic certification. New applicants may be submitted at anytime, but well before harvest.

  1. Read the most recent version of the  NOP standards .
  2. Submit completed application forms and applicable fees to MTDA (March 15 th for producers or September 15 th for handlers).
  3. MTDA will review your application to determine compliance to the NOP standards and provide an estimate of your certification costs for the year.
  4. MTDA will schedule an on-site inspection of your operation.
  5. MTDA will conduct a final review of your application and inspection materials to complete the certification process.

Please click on the panels below for more information on organic certification.


Montana Organic Commodity Advisory Council

The eight-member Montana Organic Commodity Advisory Committee advises the department on the operation of the state's Organic Certification Program. Under Montana administrative rules, the department director serves on the committee, along with certified organic producers, a certified organic handler, and a consumer representative.

MOCAC Council
Name City Phone Email Term End Qualifications
Christy Calrk, Acting Director Helena (406) 444-3156 agr@mt.gov   Agriculture Director, Statutory Appointment
Pat Carr Moccason (406) 423-5421 patrick.carr@montana.edu 8/19/2022 Consumer
Brian Goldhahn Bozeman/Cardwell (406) 579-5710 c5goldhahn@gmail.com 8/19/2023 Producer
Nate Brown Belgrade (406) 579-6439 g.nathanbrown@gmail.com 8/19/2023 At-Large Representative
Lindsey Aull Hamilton (406) 883-0974 fourthwavefarm@gmail.com 8/19/2022 Producer
Nate Powell-Palm Bozeman (406) 539-0859 natepowellpalm@gmail.com 8/19/2022 Livestock
Sam Schmidt Great Falls (800) 548-8554 sam@montanamilling.com 8/19/2023 Handler
Randy Hinebauch Chinook (406) 357-3340 randy.lisa.hinebauch@juno.com 8/19/2024 Producer

Council Minutes

National Organic Program Code of Federal Regulations

Contacts

MTDA Organic Certification Program
E-mail : agrorganic@mt.gov
Lori Leaf
Program Accounting & Billing

Phone : (406) 444-3691
E-mail : Lori.Leaf@mt.gov

Sean Mulla
Program Specialist, Western MT
General Information/Materials

Phone : (406) 329-1347
E-mail : SMulla@mt.gov


Ed Tyanich
Program Specialist, Eastern MT
General Information/Materials

Phone : (406) 465-8305
E-mail : ETyanich@mt.gov

Georgana Webster
Organic Program Manager

Phone : (406) 465-7760
E-mail : GWebster@mt.gov