OGA Program Close
The OGA program is being wound up on the 30th June 2018. The OGA program while providing cost effective certification for small growers due to the programs requirement for an onsite audit every second year, it fails to meet the requirements of the National Standard for Organic & Bio-Dynamic Produce. The OGA program was designed to enable small growers to sell at farmers markets and at farm gate but more and more produce is making it’s way to wholesale and retail markets which is causing confusion for business and consumers. It is for this reason the OGA Program is closing.
If you are a current OGA Grower below you will find information to help you understand all of your certification options so we can keep you in our certified organic family!
After the 30th June 2017 OGA will no longer be conducting onsite audits for the program. This presents you with two opportunities:
- An OGA desk audit to provide an OGA certificate to see you through to 30th June 2018; or
- An ACO onsite audit to provide you with an ACO In-Conversion certificate and an OGA certificate* You will be required to complete the ACO application documentation in order to transfer
*OGA certificate will have a 30 June 2018 expiry date.
It is important to communicate your wishes to ACO so we can ensure they are carried out easily and effectively prior to your audit being conducted.
In order to assist the transition from OGA to ACO we are offering the following:
- Waiving the application fee from OGA to ACO
- Waiving the first year of the Industry Development Levies (IDL’s) for all OGA to ACO transfers
- Waiving the sampling cost for all OGA to ACO transfers
The process of transferring from OGA to ACO is easy and we are here to help with this process, see below for the steps:
- Advise ACO you wish to transfer prior to your audit being scheduled
- ACO will provide the required forms and assistance
- Completed forms returned to ACO by you
- ACO allocates an auditor to do your ACO audit
- ACO certificate is issued
If you would like to talk about your options please contact the ACO office on (07) 3350 5706.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is OGA Closing?
The OGA program is closing as the program is not in line with the requirements of the National Standard for Organic & Bio-Dynamic Produce. OGA produce has been making its way into the commercial stream of certified organic trade and confusing certified organic operators and consumers.
Why should I transfer from OGA to ACO?
Being certified under the ACO program gives you options to sell your produce to wholesalers or even exporters and use the ACO “bud” logo on your products. It also means your hard work and dedication to certified organic farming can continue!
I’ve been OGA certified for many years, why do I have to go through 12months of ACO “In-Conversion”?
The OGA program only requires an onsite audit every second years, while ACO certification requires an annual onsite audit. This key difference means that transfers from the OGA program need to serve the mandatory 12 months in-conversion period as the OGA program is not equivalent to National Standard certification.
I’m transferring, why do I have to complete these forms?
The forms are an important way to update your organic farm plan and make sure ACO has the most current understanding of your farm. We also need some forms for legal reasons.
I don’t want to continue, what do I need to do?
When the ACO office contacts you about your upcoming desk or onsite audit, simply advise you no longer wish to continue. We will send the Desk audit paperwork and provide a certificate that expires at the program end.
Please remember that we are here to help you through whichever decision you are looking at with regards to your certification, we are only a phone call or email away!
History of OGA
OGA started as the Northern Rivers Herb Growers Association in 1989 in the Northern Rivers region of NSW when a small group of enthusiastic farmers came together to discuss herb growing at a time when it was practically non-existent in Australia
With a growing interest in organic production the group underwent a name change to Organic Herb Growers of Australia, and then again to Organic Growers of Australia as it quickly developed into a body which audited not only herb growers, but farmers and processors Australia-wide; producing everything from fruit and vegetables, to herbs, tree and field crops, bush foods, livestock and processed goods.
On 29th October 2006 at the Organic Growers of Australia Incorporated (OGA Inc) Annual General Meeting, OGA members voted almost unanimously to merge the OGA certification program into the Australian Organic Limited Group (formerly BFA). Since the 1st July 2007, Australian Organic Limited has offered OGA certification as a dedicated program servicing smaller Producers who do not export or sell to exporters.