Frequently Asked Questions
2020 Annual Update Forms and Fees
- Is the Annual Update required? Yes, the National Organic Standards 205.406(a)(1) requires that (to continue certification) an operation must pay annual certification fees and submit an updated organic system plan. Failure to submit annual update forms and fees may result in cumbersome and costly noncompliance procedures, and will delay your annual certification process.
- When is the deadline? April 1, 2020.
- Can I get a discount on fees? Yes! Submit your completed forms and fee payment early, and receive an Early Bird discount.
- Update paperwork completed, paid in full, and postmarked by February 15: $50 off
- Update paperwork completed with first quarter payment or milk check deduction, and postmarked by February 15: $25 off
- How do discounts apply if I submit online? If the application is completed by midnight on the deadline date, the discounts will automatically be applied to your account.
- Are there late fees? Yes. If you submit your annual update forms and/or fees after April 1, a late fee of $150 per month will be charged. You may also be subject to cumbersome and costly noncompliance procedures.
- Can I get a one-time annual update extension? Yes, you may request a one-time extension until April 15. Your request must be approved by MOSA by April 1; the extension fee is $60.
- Should I keep copies? Yes! Make copies of everything that you submit! The National Organic Standards require you to have and keep copies of certification documents, including all receipts, for at least 5 years.
- Can I fax or email my forms to MOSA? No. MOSA does not accept update forms via fax or email but you can submit your updates, pay your fees, and upload documents through MyMOSA, our online system.
- What if I wish to discontinue my certification or switch to another agency? This is considered a voluntary surrender of your organic certificate. If you plan to surrender in 2019, please notify MOSA as soon as possible. Fees will not be charged if you notify MOSA prior to April 1. Notification after April 1 will result in a $150-300 fee. See the enclosed fee schedule for details.
- What if I have just received my updated certificate for 2019? The April 1 deadline still applies. Certificates do not expire, but certification uses an annual update cycle. For some clients, the annual update may come just after or even before the conclusion of your 2019 certification cycle. Even though you may have just received an updated certificate or your file may still be in review, you must complete the required annual update by the deadline.
- Will MOSA make copies for me? Yes, but making copies is your responsibility, and doing so prior to mailing will save you time, money, and stress. MOSA staff may not always be able to meet requests for copies in a timely way and you will be charged a printing fee. In addition, paperwork can get lost in the mail, so it’s best to make copies before mailing in your application.
- Can I view my account online even if I don’t want to submit my annual update online? Yes! Even if you don’t submit your forms electronically, you can review your Organic System Plan and previously submitted updates and documentation, upload documents, and make payments online. If you have not yet accessed your account online, contact MOSA and we will take care of your initial setup.
- What parts of my operation get inspected? All land, livestock and facilities must be inspected annually. All storage facilities, greenhouses, processing facilities, and off-site land and facilities must be included in the inspection. Nonorganic production areas may be included in the annual inspection.
- How do my inspection fees work? The cost of inspection is based upon travel costs to get to your operation, time spent on site, and preparing the report for the final review. Because we cannot predict precisely how much travel and time will be needed to successfully complete your inspection, we can not predict exactly how much it will cost.
- What goes into inspection costs? There are many factors involved in how much an inspection will cost. Some of those include expertise or specialization of the inspector, distance travelled to get to your operation, whether your inspection can be timed in conjunction with other inspections in your area, the complexity of your operation, how complete and organized your records are, and how well-prepared you are for your inspection. With such variables, we cannot predict your costs in advance; this is why each year we ask you to pay a base fee on those inspection costs. Once the inspection is complete, you will be invoiced for any outstanding balance.
Why does MOSA ask about…
- Contact and Business Info? We must know who is responsible for organic management, and how best to communicate with you. The National Organic Program (NOP) requires that only one “person” is identified on a certificate: one farm or business. This “person” can be an individual, partnership, corporation, association, cooperative, trust, or other legal entity.
- Tax ID numbers? We must be able to confirm the legal identity of all certified entities. Sole proprietors/individuals do not need to provide a social security number.
- Additional contact names? We must know who is connected to your operation and with whom we are authorized to communicate about confidential certification issues. These additional names could be family members, business partners, employees, etc. We request the names of all “responsibly-connected” parties, including partners, officers, boards of directors, holders, managers, or owners of at least 10% of the voting stock. See the chart on the Annual Update OSP.
- Timing needs? The organic certification process takes time. If you have specific timing needs, let us know right away. Are you adding new product or new land? Let us know what’s new and when you need a revised certificate. Products you wish to sell or otherwise represent as organic MUST be listed on your certificate. New land should be inspected and certified before you harvest or have livestock graze. Your needs are important to us and we will work hard to meet them, but it all starts with timely and complete communication. As the season progresses, please update us on any changes to your timing needs. Additional fees may apply.
- Biosecurity? The wellbeing of your operation is important to us. Livestock and plant diseases are an unfortunate but manageable reality. We need to know what your biosecurity concerns are. Avian Influenza has been of special concern in the past, as well as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. These diseases are highly contagious and can be devastating to flocks and herds. If you have any chickens or hogs, organic or conventional, for sale or for personal use, please let us know. Discuss any biosecurity protocols with MOSA or your inspector.
- Multiple entities on one certificate? Organic products may be produced/handled only by persons/businesses that are certified and inspected in accordance with the National Organic Standards section 205.100, and each “person” (legal entity) needs their own certificate. Certified operations may not allow the use of their certificate to enable other persons to produce or handle products sold, labeled, or represented as organic. Certificates are not transferable if there are mergers or new partnerships or other changes of ownership. In some circumstances, we may require that certain parts of your operation be certified as a separate entity.
- Calculating adjusted gross for handling operations? Adjusted gross organic sales are gross sales less the cost of organic ingredients. No deduction to gross sales is made for ingredients that are not certified organic (such as salt, yeast or pectin), or for other costs such as packaging, trucking, or production. Retail operations and brokers are considered handlers and calculate their fees in different ways. Please review the Handler Fee Schedule or contact MOSA for details if you have questions.
Other questions? Please call our office and we will be happy to assist you.