Most markets for 0rganic and Biodynamic Produce demand that the farm is certified. This is to ensure the consumer that the produce is genuine.
In Australia, organic certification is performed by several organisations that are accredited by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) under the National Standard for 0rganic and Biodynamic Produce.
National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce 2008
A list of these organisations can be found in the links menu or at the Organic and Biodynamic Certifiers page
All certifying organisations must ensure that their members comply with this standard. Each certifying organisation has variation of the standard. These are generally extra requirements as the National Standard for 0rganic and Biodynamic Produce is a minimum standard. AQIS will not accredit an organisation that allows a system that is less stringent that the minimum standard.
It is best to contact all the organisations and get details of their certifying standards and cost and fee structures. This way you can decide which of the organisations is the best for your farming practices.
All of the organisations start by sending you a form where you have to detail your present and past farming practices and develop a farm plan. After this is completed an inspector will come to your farm to audit and inspect. They will also take soil and/or crop samples for residue testing.
If you pass this first inspection, then your farm will be considered in pre conversion for a year. The conversion to A grade organic generally takes 3 years. The farm will then have full organic certification and access to all the organic markets.
It is recommended that you have established organic farmers as mentors to help you through the conversion stage. The early years of organic farming are always the hardest, as it can take some time before the new system kicks in and the yields will increase. Established organic farmers can advise you on how to deal with or prevent problems and how to get good yields.