In an effort to reduce paperwork and other burdensome aspects of organic certification, the National Organic Program (NOP) in April introduced Sound and Sensible, a new program designed to make it easier on producers while maintaining high standards, ensuring compliance, and protecting organic integrity. The Sound and Sensible initiative involves identifying and removing barriers to certification, streamlining the certification process, focusing enforcement on egregious violations, and correcting small issues before they become larger ones. NOP highlighted its Sound and Sensible program on the USDA blog as part of the Organic 101 series.

Five Principles of Sound and Sensible

  • Efficient Processes: Eliminate bureaucratic processes that do not contribute to organic integrity.
  • Streamlined Recordkeeping: Ensure that required records support organic integrity and are not a barrier for farms and businesses to maintain organic compliance.
  • Practical Plans: Support simple Organic System Plans that clearly capture organic practices.
  • Fair, Focused Enforcement: Focus enforcement on willful, egregious violators; handle minor violations in a way that leads to compliance; and publicize how enforcement protects the organic market.
  • Integrity First: Focus on factors that impact organic integrity, building consumer confidence that organic products meet defined standards from farm to market.