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The NJDA’s OSRA Program is an education and outreach program designed to provide educational materials and assistance to New Jersey farmers and consumers interested in the techniques and benefits of sustainable, regenerative, and organic agricultural practices.


  • Organic Agriculture

    The USDA organic regulations describe organic agriculture as the application of a set of cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that support the cycling of on-farm resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. These include maintaining or enhancing soil and water quality; conserving wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife; and avoiding use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering. Organic producers use natural processes and materials when developing farming systems—these contribute to soil, crop and livestock nutrition, pest and weed management, attainment of production goals, and conservation of biological diversity. Currently, the USDA allows for hydroponic and container growing systems (systems not in soil using constant fertigation) to become certified organic. This means that the organic seal alone does not guarantee the farm is using sustainable and/or regenerative techniques. When possible, get to know your farmers and their practices, and seek organic products grown in soil-based systems.

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  • Sustainable Agriculture

    The USDA defines “Sustainable Agriculture” as an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term (A) satisfy human food and fiber needs; (B) enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture economy depends; (C) make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; (D) sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and (E) enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

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  • Regenerative Agriculture

    Regenerative agriculture can be used by all farmers to improve soil and farm health and decrease the need for routine, expensive chemical inputs to achieve profitable harvests. When done correctly regenerative agriculture can have many benefits not just for the farm, the farmer, and their families, but for the surrounding environments and our Garden State as a whole. With one focus being increasing soil carbon content (soil organic matter), regenerative agriculture has the potential to be an effective tool in drawing down carbon levels in our atmosphere by sequestering carbon into the soil, giving it the potential to become an important tool to slow climate change.

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  • Resources for OSRA


    The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA NJ) has supported and advocated for organic farming and local food systems in the Garden State since 1985. From technical support to educational programming and policy advocacy, NOFA-NJ’s work is dynamic, community-focused, and has lasting impacts throughout the entire food system. NOFA NJ is one of seven NOFA Chapters with a 50+ year history of advocating for organic regenerative farming, local food systems, and ecological restoration. To access the abundant resources and opportunities offered through NOFA-NJ, please follow the links below.

    NRCS - National Resource Conservation Service, New Jersey

    Working with Conservation Partners In New Jersey, NRCS natural resource conservationists, soil scientists, planners, agronomists, biologists, and engineers work in partnership with New Jersey Soil Conservation Districts and other local, state and federal partners to:

    • Promote wise land use
    • Reduce erosion and improve soil health
    • Improve water quality
    • Restore wetlands
    • Improve wildlife habitat
    • Promote energy conservation
    • Inventory resources and management activities to advise land managers on their actions.
    • Work with livestock producers on proper grazing and manure management. 

    Your local NRCS office welcomes the opportunity to assist you with available grants, loans, and information to help you integrate beneficial management practices on your farm.


    ATTRA is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), headquartered in Butte, Montana. ATTRA provides information and technical assistance to those engaged in or serving commercial agriculture, such as farmers, ranchers, extension agents, farm organizations and other domestic farm-based businesses. ATTRA has readily accessible sustainable and organic farming resources for farmers and ranchers across the nation. ATTRA offers a wide variety of information and free resources on sustainable agriculture, from horticultural and agronomic crops to livestock production systems to business planning and farm succession. ATTRA’s services seek to help U.S. farmers increase profitability and provide more healthful food for consumers while becoming better stewards of natural resources and the environment. Clients can call in requests on a toll-free telephone line, and access information and resources through the ATTRA website.


    The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is a decentralized competitive grants and education program operating in every state and island protectorate. SARE is divided into four different regions that operate as separate entities and run grant programs for their states. Since 1988, SARE's competitive grants program has supported farmers, ranchers, researchers and educators who are improving the sustainability of U.S. agriculture. To reach the Northeast SARE office, follow the link below.

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  • Organic Specific Resources

    Organic Fact Sheet for Producers

    Guidance on Treated Lumber for Producers

    Seed and Planting Stock Guidance for Farmers

    Buffer Zone Guidance for Farmers

    Organic Certification

    The NJDA does not certify operations for organic certification. There are over a dozen accredited certification agents currently working within New Jersey to certify organic producers (farmers) and handlers (food processors). A listing of accredited certification agents can be found here (click on “Organic Certifier Locator“):

    Organic Consulting through OSRA:

    NJDA’s OSRA program offers free personalized consulting for farms and food processing facilities contemplating organic production and handling. You can contact the OSRA program through the ORGANIC HOTLINE for help with connecting to educational materials, formulating an organic systems plan (an organic farm plan or organic handling plan), determining and documenting the compliance of materials and ingredients used in organic systems, and help you indemnify an accredited certification agent who will fit your operation’s needs. To set up an appointment, either on site or at NJDA offices, please call (609) 913-6505 or e-mail:

    The National Organic Program (NOP)

    The USDA’s NOP is a federal regulatory program that develops and enforces national standards for organically produced agricultural products sold in the United States. The NOP also accredits third-party organizations to certify that farms and businesses meet the national organic standard. You can access the NOP and it’s many resources here:

    The NOP Regulations can be found here:

    The NOP Handbook containing guidance and instructions for Accredited Certifying Agents and Certified Operations can be found here:

    The Organic INTEGRITY Database

    Only certified operations can sell, label, or represent products as organic, unless exempt or excluded from certification. The INTEGRITY database is a database of NOP certified organic operations that contains up-to-date and accurate information, deterring fraud, increasing supply chain transparency for buyers and sellers, and promoting market visibility for certified organic operations. The database can be used to verify certification status of an operation, the organic offerings and products from various certified operations, and identifies the accredited agents certifying each entity.

    The NRCS and Organic Agriculture:

    NRCS can help organic producers develop a conservation plan that meets their goals and can often help with financial assistance to implement elements of the plan. There are a wide variety of materials available for agricultural producers who have adopted organic practices as well as those who would like to transition to organic production. To find out more, visit this page on the NRCS website:

    The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

    OMRI supports organic integrity by developing clear information and guidance about materials, so that producers know which products are appropriate for organic operations. OMRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides an independent review of products, such as fertilizers, pest controls, livestock health care products, and numerous other inputs that are intended for use in certified organic production and processing. When companies apply, OMRI reviews their products against the organic standards. Acceptable products are OMRI Listed® and appear on the OMRI Products Lists©. OMRI also provides technical support and training for professionals in the organic industry. To learn more about OMRI or to look up a material on their database follow the link below.

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  • USDA Organic Certification Cost Share Grant Information

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  • Organic Hotline

    Thinking about organic certification? Do you have questions about the requirements within the organic regulations or about the general certification process? The NJDA can help. Our Organic Hotline is answered by our former Supervisor of Organic Certification. Direct your questions concerning organic matters to the NJDA Organic Hotline: (609) 913-6505 or e-mail:  or Dan Wunderlich, Manager Organic, Sustainable, Regenerative Agriculture, at

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