Farmer's Markets & Organic Program
The Agricultural Product Quality and Marketing team runs produce quality inspection programs to ensure that produce meets state standards for size, packaging, quality and maturity. Nursery and seed inspections, as well as licensing requirements, verify that nurseries are in compliance with local, regional, and federal regulations. The Agricultural Commissioner oversees local direct marketing programs and promotes the sale of local commodities through Certified Farmers’ Markets. In conjunction with CDFA’s Organic Program, the Agricultural Commissioner regulates California state organic registration. The Merced County Agricultural Commissioner offers the Merced County Certified Organic program as an option for qualified farmers to obtain organic certification. The Product Quality and Marketing team also compiles county agricultural statistics into annual Crop Reports.
Direct Marketing/Farmer's Markets
Farmers, also known as producers, may sell their commodities directly to the public through Farmers’ Markets, restaurants, schools and institutions, community-supported agriculture (CSA), and agritourism venues. The Agricultural Commissioner, in cooperation with CDFA, inspects and certifies producers and farmers’ markets on a regular basis for the enforcement of the California Direct Marketing Regulations.
The Agricultural Commissioner, in cooperation with CDFA’s Organic Program, enforces the federal Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990, and the California Organic Products Act of 2003. These statutes protect consumers, producers, handlers, processors and retailers by establishment of standards under which fresh agricultural products/foods may be labeled and/or sold as “organic”. For more information visit California State Organic Program or the USDA National Organic Program.
Every person engaged in the state of California in the production or handling of raw agricultural products sold as organic, and retailers that are engaged in the production of products sold as organic, and retailers that are engaged in the processing, as defined by the NOP, of products sold as organic, shall register with the State Organic Program. Each registrant shall provide a complete copy of its registration to the agricultural commissioner in any county in which the registrant operates. If the expected organic gross sales exceed $5,000, certification is required.