Flax a good source of Omega Oils 




USA Ancient Seeds General Farming and Livestock Standards



The mission of this certification program and its standards is to verify the production systems that are producing organically source produced products.  To promote the use of farming techniques that is sustainable and beneficial to the environment.

Alert:  The USA ANCIENT SEEDS STANDARDS has no tolerance for GMO Cross 

Contamination.  (So if you’re wondering about going with the program that has a tolerance, check out a different certification company). 



The general principles of USA Ancient Seeds are to certify farms on a field by field basis or whole farm units.  If it is a field by field system which is the mission of this program to move the whole farm units into certified production within 5 years.  There are some special circumstances which will be taken into consideration.

In order to be certified through this program the applicant must follow these steps: the filing of an application, a farm plan, a five-year history, and a letter of commitment.  Once received, the certification committee will review all information to rule on whether or not to go forward with the inspection process.


(a)    A field may be certified if there have not been any unacceptable materials used on the field for the past five years (synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer, fumigants, etc.).

(b)    If the applicant has a duel system (organic and non-organic) and is raising the same types of crops on both systems they must be able to show beyond question that they can keep them segregated in such a manner that it would be impossible for that to be commingled.  Also there must be in place an audit trail that will show the total production of both system of the same crops how they were harvested, handled, stored (total production), and who they were sold to with documentation of amounts.

(c)     In the case of when there is non-organic production adjoining organic production there must be a minimum of a 25 foot buffer between the productions.

(d)    In the case where spot spraying is mandatory by a state or province rule on noxious weeds the spraying must be done by a hand sprayer and a 25 foot marker buffer around the sprayed area must exist.

(e)    If there suspect of a contamination due to over spray no matter what the circumstances tissue residue testing is mandatory.

(f)      The farm plan that is required must include a three year projected plan for soil building, crop production, and field maps of all land organic and non-organic (with a designation system).

(g)    Non-perennial crops shall be rotated in accordance with accepted regional organic practices.  Rotations must be as varied as possible and aim to maintain or improve soil fertility, reduce nitrate leaching, and reduce weeds, pests, and disease.

(h)    Audit trail must consist of amounts of all farm inputs, date and place of harvest, amount of all harvest (tons, bushel, pound, etc.) that will correspond with field maps.

(i)      All machinery must be kept in good shape to guard against contaminating the soil.

(j)      Soil testing is not mandatory but is suggested to promote soil fertility and health.


Approved methods

(a)    The use of properly decayed manures and composted manures are acceptable so long as they are not over applies to protect against build up of nitrates in the soil.

(b)   It is recommended that the soil temperatures be sufficient to promote active microbial action.

(c)    On radishes, leafy green, the best family, and other known nitrate accumulators fresh, aerated, anaerobic, or “sheet composted manures may not be applies less than four months before planting.”

(d)   All manure sources and management techniques must be clearly documented as a part of the certification process.

(e)    Sewage sludge and septic waste is prohibited.

(f)     Agricultural limestone, natural phosphates, and other slowly soluble powders are acceptable.

(g)    Wood ash, langeinite (sulpomag), non-fortifies marine by-produces, bone meal, fishmeal, and other similar natural products (consult product list on any question).

(h)    Cottonseed meal, leather meal, and blended products containing these substances are permissible only if free from contaminants.

(i)      Highly soluble nitrates, phosphate, and chloride nutrient source, natural or synthetic, are prohibited.

(j)     Ammonia and urea products are prohibited.

(k)   Potassium sulfate, borax (solubor), sodium molybdate, and sulfate trace mineral salts are permitted where argonomically justified.


(a)    Horticulture crops and non-perennial field crops must be produced from seed that has not been treated with any unauthorized products.  Temporary exceptions can be made if untreated seed is not available.

(b)   Annual transports must be grown according to USAO standards.  Perennial transplants may be from any source, but crops sold as certifies organic must be from plants which have been under organic cultivation for at least 12 months prior to harvest.  

(c)    Vegetative propagated plants such as garlic and other bulbous plants are to be considered as seeds and fully respect paragraph (a) of the article.

(d)   Microbes used in the production of certified crop products must be naturally occurring (not the result of genetic engineering).   


Disease-acceptable methods

(a)    Use of resistant varieties.

(b)   Lime-sulfur, Bordeaux, and element sulfur.  The certification committee may approve other sulfurs or copper products.

(c)     Fungicides and cryptocidal soaps, plant preparations, vinegar, and other natural substances.

Insects and Similar Pest-acceptable methods

(a)    Use of resistant varieties and the provision of conditions favoring natural equilibrium.

(b)   Insecticidal soaps and botanical insecticides such as ryania, sabadilla and teas, extracts, decoctions, poultices of locally grown botanicals.

(c)    Rotenone, pyrethrum, dormant oil (preferably vegetable based) and diatomaceous earth may be used with great caution due to their high ecological profile. 

(d)   Sexual, visual, and physical traps

(e)    All pesticides containing aromatic petroleum fractions or synergists (such as piperonyl butoxide, are prohibited).

Weed Control-acceptable methods

(a)    Weeds are to be controlled through a combination of tillage, rotation, green manure, fallow, etc.

(b)   Mechanical, electrical, and thermal weeding.

(c)    Microbial weed killers.

(d)   Chemical or petroleum herbicides are prohibited


Living Conditions

Management of the environment and behavioral needs of the animal must be taken into consideration and provided for.

(a)    Sufficient free movement

(b)   Sufficient fresh air and natural daylight according to the needs of the animal 

(c)    Protection against excessive sunlight, temperatures, rains and wind according to the needs of the animal.

(d)   Enough lying or resting area will be provided, adequate bedding must be provided when housed.

(e)    Ample access to fresh water and feed according to the needs of the animals.

When the natural daylight is prolonged by artificial lighting this must not lead to a day length which is longer than 20 hours unless it endangers the well being of the animal.


Animals must be fed USAO certified organically grown feed or feed from a certified source acceptable to USAO Certification Committee.

Plastic roughage, urea, intentional manure re-feeding, and similar practices are prohibited.

 Early weaning (less than 4 weeks for piglets. 3 months for beef, and 18kg or 2 months for sheep and goats) or feeding milk re-placer are prohibited.

White veal production cannot be considered organic.


Any source of feed salt is acceptable.

Calcium phosphate materials such as bonemeal, marl, etc. or calcium carbonate materials such as limestone, dolomite, etc.

Magnesium oxide, greensand, seaweed, natural minerals, and other free choice trace elements.

Selenium of whatever form (ingested or injected at recommended doses).

Vitamins should be provided from sprouted grains, fish liver oils. brewer’s yeast or other natural sources.  Synthetic vitamins may be permitted in cases of long winters, mountainous zones, or poor forage due to bad weather.

The following feed ingredients group shall not generally be allowed from synthesized or unnatural sources.  These include:

  • Concentrated vitamins 
  • Trace elements supplements

Synthetic growth promoters (including antibiotics and trace elements used to stimulate growth) implanted, injected, or ingested are prohibited.

Purchased Animals

Slaughter stock must be raised on the farm in accordance with USAO standards or purchased from certified organic livestock producers with a certification program acceptable to USAO.

Breeding stock may be bought from whatever source, provided the animal is not in the last third of gestation but it may only be sold as certified organic if raised in compliance with USAO standards for one year following purchase.

Breeding stock brought into the operation from conventional sources must not exceed 10% of the USAO certifies adult animal population (of that type) on an annual basis.  Certification committees may allow exceptions, with specific time limits in the following cases:

(a)    Unforeseen severe natural or man made events

(b)   Considerable enlargement of the farm

(c)    Establishing a new type of animal production on the farm

(d)   For small farms

(e)    Day old poultry may be bought from whatever source

Herd Health

The first line of defense must be control of environmental problems through pasture rotation, disinfection, etc. 

Cleaning agent and disinfectants should be chosen from among soaps, biodegradable detergents, iodine 5%, 1% potassium permanganate solutions, lye, alkali carbonates, caustic potash, lime, and bleach.

Areas to be disinfected should be empty of livestock, and manure should be physically removed as much as possible.

Biotherapies such as plant concoctions and homeopathic remedies.

Vaccinations (including vaccination to stimulate production of maternal antibodies), probiotics, and similar preventive techniques are permitted when diseases are known to exist in the farm environment and cannot be controlled by other techniques.  Legally required vaccinations are allowed.

When recourse to certain active materials is deemed necessary slaughter animals may not be sold as certified organic.

If an animal is dependent on active intervention, it should be removed from the herd.


Natural services is the ideal.

Since breeding methods have minimal effect on the quality of meat produced, various other methods are tolerated, provided they do not unduly restrict the gene pool.

Embryo transfer techniques are not allowed.


Animals must be treated humanely during loading, unloading, shipping, holding and slaughter.

Slaughter must be affected under sanitary conditions that shall usually mean government approval slaughterhouse.

Animals must be clearly identified in such manner as to preclude confusion with non-certified meat.  Ideally, certified meat should be slaughtered as a separate batch or hung apart from non-certified meat.

Physical Alterations

Practices that may be considered physical alterations are not allowed by USAO unless the practice is to the animal’s ultimate benefit.  These practices shall not cause suffering or be used where other less invasive practices are available, nor be used to circumvent a deficiency in animal husbandry.

The following practices are not allowed:

(a)    Tail cutting with the exception of lambs

(b)   Debeaking

(c)    Wing burning

Audit Trail

An audit trail must be maintained which will permit tracing the sources and amount of all feeds, supplements. medications, etc. 

With the exception of poultry, if animals are not individually identified by numbered tags, each animal that is treated with an active material must be clearly identified by numbered tags, each animal that is treated with an active material must be clearly identified with a tag specifying the material and date of treatment.

Each animal must be traced from birth to slaughter.

Standards for Dairy and Egg Production

The standards are the same as for meat production, with the exception of the following additions and clarifications.

Certified organic milk shall be from milk cows that have been fed 100% USAO Certified feed for at least 1 year during and prior to certification.


In the case of new and certifiable herds, cows shall be fed a minimum of 80% of daily ration on an as is basis of USAO recognizable certifiable organically grown feed for 10 months followed by being fed 100% USAO Certified feed 60 days prior to certifiable status.

Purchased production stock into USAO certified herds:

(a)    Should be from USAO certified sources.

(b)    Can be sources which qualify under the new herd provision.

(c)    As a last resort, conventional sources given the animals are fed USAO Certified feeds 60 days prior to certifiable status and that such production represents less than 5% of total annual USAO certified production.

Dairy replacements on an organic dairy must be fed feed which is non-medicated, including milk replacer (whole milk is preferable), up to the required 1 year prior to certification.

The use of antibiotics and all hormones is prohibited in organic dairy.  If recourse to antibiotics or hormones is deemed necessary, that animal’s production cannot be sold as organic.  For new herds and replacements, no antibiotic or hormone use will be allowed 90 days prior to certifiable status.

Cleansers and sanitizers (on farm)

(a)    Milk equipment sanitizers (CIP and manual) and udder washes are two potential sources of contamination.  If possible, sanitary standards should be met using approved materials; however, if due to local regulations un-approved materials must be used, all equipment must be rinsed to neutralize and effectively eliminate chemical contamination.

Cleansers and sanitizers (dairy processors)

(a)    Government regulations require the cleaning and sanitizing of all milk handling equipment by government approved substances.

(b)    Rinsing after sanitizing is in violation of government regulations

(c)    To neutralize and effectively eliminate chemical contamination, the following guidelines must be followed:

(1)    All chemicals shall not exceed the manufacturers recommended p.p.m.

(2)    Caustic or alkaline washes shall be followed by an acid wash, followed by a rinse, followed by an appropriate sanitizer at the appropriate p.p.m.

(3)    Organic milk may follow conventional milk as long as the first organic milk flushed the system to conventional channels.

All regulatory sanitation requirements and quality standards for bacteria and somatic cell count (SCC) must be observed.  In addition, the annual average SCC should not exceed 400,000 for bovine (800,000 for ovine or caprine) or local regulations, whichever is lower; maximum bacteria count should not exceed 100,000 or local regulations, whichever is lower.  Individual animals are recommended to be on monthly SCC testing.  Failure to comply with these quality levels will require a farm plan response to be

implemented to come into compliance and be approved by the certification review committee.

(a)    A new herd should have under a 400,000 (8000, 000) average SCC for the three months prior to certifiable status.

Water Quality

Dairy animals must drink water with nitrate levels below 10 mg nitrate, nitrogen/liter (45 mg NO3/liter) and satisfy all state requirements concerning bacteria and other micro life.  If a farmer is unable to meet these requirements, a farm plan response shall be implemented to come into compliance.

Egg Production

(a)    Pullets must be fed 100% USAO certified organic feed for at least four months before eggs are certified.

(b)    When pullets are purchased, they must be treated in accordance with these standards for at least four months before their eggs are certified.

(c)    Hens must have at least two square feet per bird floor space in the henhouse.

(d)    Hens must have outdoor access when seasonally appropriate.

(e)    If access to pasture is not feasible, flocks must be fed sprouted grains or fresh plants or hay on a daily basis.

(f)      Use of petroleum-based oil as a shell coating after washing is prohibited.

(g)    Feather clipping is allowed only on an individual basis (to prevent escape)

Companion Animal Food


(a)    All primary ingredients must be certified by USAO or an USAO approved organization and in combination with added minerals and vitamins represent not less than ninety-five (95%) of the finished product by weight.

(b)    Added minerals and vitamins may be provided by natural sources or may be synthetic but cannot contain prohibited additives or preservatives.

Nutritional Adequacy

The food must be nutritionally adequate for the animals and purposes for which it is intended as proven either:

(a)    By ingredients in quantities sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements established by regulatory or other recognized authorities, or

(b)    By feeding it to normal animals as the only source of nourishment except water, in accordance testing procedures established by the regulatory recognized authorities, to meet the criteria of testing procedures for the purpose or life stage or stages for which intended.


The product container must be labeled in a manner that:

(a)    Clearly indicates the animals and purpose for which it is intended and if a food is         

      proven nutritionally adequate.

(b)   Is in accordance with that required by the appropriate regulatory agency for that animal, purpose or food, or if there is none as suggested by another recognized authority for that animal, purpose or food.

(c)  Is not misleading.





Existing standards apply as expressed elsewhere in this document.


Nitrate testing is to be conducted on growing plants on a case by case basis.

Air and water quality must meet government standards.


Greenhouse operators should strive to include a variety of crops in their management plans.                               








Feeding of Bees

(a)    Honey from a known certified origin is permitted.

(b)    Bee pollen from a known certified source is permitted.

(c)    Sugar or sugar syrup if starvation is imminent is permitted.

(d)    Use honey as the major feed source.

(e)    To feed sugar or sugar syrup during any honey flow is prohibited.

(f)      To extract honey from brood chambers where sugar syrup has been used is prohibited.

Control/Prevention of Disease

(a)    Keep strongest hives and destroy weak hives

(b)    Select good locations

(c)    Check hives regularly (i.e. once every 2-3 weeks)

(d)    Keep obviously diseased hives in hospital yards.

(e)    Use of menthol to control tracheal mite parasite is permitted.

(f)      Use of antibiotics in honey production is prohibited except when the health of the colony is threatened.  After such treatment the hive must be moved immediately and taken out of organic production.  The pull immediately following the use of antibodies may not be USAO certified.

(g)    Sulfa products and other chemical products are prohibited.

Foraging Areas

(a)  Apiaries must be located on USAO certified land.

(b)   Bee keeper must provide clean water and sufficient USAO forage to feed the bees    

       throughout the season.

(c)    Apiaries may not be located within 2 miles of garbage dumps or sanitary landfills.

(d)    It is prohibited to locate apiaries within 2 miles/3 km of flowering agricultural crops that have been sprayed with non USAO accepted pesticides if bees could be using these crops for forage.

(e)    Apiaries may not be located within 2 miles of golf courses.

(f)      Apiaries may not be located within 2 miles/3 km of major town sites or cities.

(g)    Apiaries may not be located within two miles of major traffic polluting areas.


(a)    Use pure beeswax in hives—preferably your own.

(b)    Wax of dubious origin is prohibited.

Honey Treatment

(a)    Bee blower or smoker to remove bees from hives may be used if needed.

(b)    Heat to not more than 35C/95F degrees and keep this process as short as possible.

(c)    Mechanical uncapping of combs preferred to uncapping with heat.

(d)    Allow debris in homey to settle out by gravity.  Fine mesh filter is not permitted.

(e)    All surface honey contacts should be stainless steel or coated with beeswax.

(f)      Painted surfaces must be painted with a food and beverage approved paint and coated with beeswax.  Honey may not contact galvanized metal or metal with surfaces that oxidize.

(g)    Honey extraction facility should be tight to prevent robbing and the spread of disease.

(h)    Extraction facility should be very clean and inspected annually by federal food inspectors.

(i)      Extracting facility should be well lit with facilities to wash down daily with copious amounts of fresh, clean, hot water.

(j)      Accumulated numbers of bees in extracting area should be allowed to gather and then washed down with water and disposed of or put in a nearby fire.

(k)    Honey Barrels must be of a known origin, washed and stored inside.  If not new, they should have previously been used in food service.  Preferable they should be coated with beeswax.  Oxidized barrels are prohibited.

(l)      Chemical bee repellents are prohibited.

(m)  Floors and walls must be sealed from insects and rodents.  Presence of insect pests such as flies in extracting facility will not be permitted.

(n)    Use of chemical agents such as calcium cyanide as a fumigant is prohibited.

Honey, Frame, Wax and Hive Storage

(a)    Honey may be stored a maximum of 2 years before sale as organic.

(b)    Naphthalene (moth balls) are prohibited for the control of wax moths in stored honey and honey product materials.

Queen Rearing

(a)    Cross breeding of bee families is encouraged.

(b)    To prevent spreading of disease, rear your own queens.

(c)    Making of artificial swarms is permitted.

(d)    Purchase of packaged bees is permitted.

(e)    Artificial insemination is permitted.

(f)      Killing of colonies of bees in the fall is prohibited.


Residue testing is necessary when there is reasonable cause to suspect that a field or product has been contaminated.


There must be an audit trail in place and kept up to date at all times.  The audit trail must consist of records that follow the crop from planting (backed by field maps), harvest, storage, transportation and final sale (with documentation of weights or amounts sold) which must match amounts in storage.


(a)    Onsite inspections are required.  This will include all land, animals, equipment,  

storage, farm plan, maps, and audit control sheets.

(b)    The inspector can not be connected to any farm operation that he or she is inspecting.

(c)    The advice provided by the inspector must be limited to assisting an applicant in meeting USAO standards and improving the organic production of the farm system.

(d)    The inspector must have received training in organic inspection techniques and procedures from an agency acceptable to USAO.

(e)    In case it is suspected that a farm operation or product has been contaminated or not in compliance with the standards set forth in this document the certification committee (CC) has the right to send an inspector in to do an unannounced inspection.  This is done at the applicant’s expense.

(f)      Total confidentiality must be kept at all times by the inspector.


(a)    Clients of USAO may appeal any decision by the C.C. which is directly related to the client’s certification.

(b)    All appeals must be in writing to the C.C. with accompanying documentation and evidence which constitutes grounds for reversing the C.C. decision.

(c)    All appeals must include a $250.00 deposit to cover the cost of the C.C. review.  If this amount is not sufficient an additional fee of $35.00 per hour can be assessed to cover the review process.

(d)    The C.C. will review all documentation given to them by the client in question in their defense.  Once the committee has made its decision, the management of USAO will inform the client of the decision.

(e)    If there is again a denial, the client has the right to appeal to the Chairman of the USAO Board of Directors (BOD).  The same fee structure applies to this appeal as to the C.C. appeal.  Again all evidence will be evaluated and a decision will be made.

(f)      If once again denied by the BOD, the client and USAO may enter into an agreement with an outside agency to mediate the situation to a satisfactory conclusion.  This outside agency must be acceptable to both parties.  The cost for this procedure will be divided equally between both parties.

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