oregon sungrown farm certification guidelines

Introduction

The Oregon SunGrown Growers Guild (OSGG) educates advocates, promotes and protects traditional sun grown cannabis production. OSGG is dedicated to the development and preservation of sun grown cannabis seeds and genetics. We believe that sustainable sun grown agricultural methods produce a superior holistic medicine.

Building from this mission OSGG has developed a plan to protect small farms as the industry grows. The following manual includes operating procedures, herbicide/pesticide/input management, and record keeping practices that will help growers produce a superior product and remain competitive in the cannabis industry. The following guidelines will outline the policies and procedures that need to be implemented to become part of the Oregon SunGrown (OSG) certification program. The certification program will help each farm owner with implementation of an Oregon SunGrown Garden Plan with proactive fertility management systems, conservation measures, and environmentally sound farm management practices.

The OSGG may update these guidelines annually and/or if industry regulations are updated (State or Federal Laws) or on an as needed basis.

Benefits

Farms obtaining the OSG certification will be able to label their products with the OSG brand. The OSG brand will assure the public that the product is or contains naturally cultivated and sustainably produced sun grown cannabis. The OSG label is already recognized in the industry and is easily identifiable by patrons of cannabis. Consumers looking for naturally produced, clean, and sustainably grown cannabis products can simply look for the OSG logo and be assured they are getting the finest quality on the market.

The OSG label says to customers:

  • The farm is a member of an organically grown and Sustainable Certification Program.
  • The product is produced on a farm that is committed to the sustainable production of high quality cannabis utilizing natural and organically certified inputs and pest control methods.
  • The product is naturally/organically grown, with non-GMO products as defined by the OSG certification program.
  • The product was grown using primarily natural lighting, thus reducing the overall carbon footprint of the product and of the farm itself.

The OSG certification program will provide members with:

  • Continuing education for growing cannabis.
  • Quarterly Seminars held to discuss new technologies in growing operations with subject matter experts.
  • 3rd party farm consulting for a reduced fee.
  • Annual gathering for certified growers to exchange ideas.
  • Consumer recognition of high quality natural products.
  • Specific branding and marketing opportunities.

 

Application Process

Membership to the OSGG is a requirement for the certification process. Any of the OSGG membership levels will fulfill the requirement this includes the Basic, Founding, or Business level.

All farms must operate under and in accordance within the State of Oregon’s rules and regulations. Any deviation from those rules and the OSG will not be able to certify your farm.

Steps to complete the OSG certification:

Fill out either an online or paper application and submit it to the certification committee via this website or to certification@oregonsungrown.org

The total fee for the certification is $1600.  This includes a $200 inspection fee which needs to be paid at the time of the inspection.  The remaining balance will be paid once the certification is granted.

OSG reviews application

The OSG certification committee will review the application to assess if the applicant is ready to move forward with the certification process. The committee will contact the applicant if anything is missing or if more clarification is required. Once the application has been reviewed and approved, the committee will arrange an on-site inspection.

Inspection

A private 3rd party inspector (a private, experienced farm inspector that has been trained and certified by OSGG to insure compliance with OSG standards) will be scheduled to visit the farm and verify that the information on the application is being practiced.

All operations will be inspected for:

  • Plants, herbicides, and inputs being used.
  • Completeness of State required record keeping.
  • General farm cleanliness.
  • Defined boundaries for the cannabis cultivation area .

The inspector will then take the information from the inspection back to the OSG committee where a review will be performed.

Review of inspection report

The OSG committee will review the inspection report for accuracy and completeness. The committee will notify applicant if there are any issues, omissions or requests for further information. The applicant will have 30 days to fix the minor non-compliance issue and reschedule a follow-up inspection to insure those identified conditions have been remedied. If the issues require more than 30 days to resolve, the committee will determine the time frame for re-inspection based on the severity of the non-compliance. Once the farm has received a passing inspection the inspector will submit the inspection report to the OSG committee for final review. Certification inspections will be conducted no less than once a year.

Certification decision

Upon successful completion of the review process, the farm manager will receive a letter and/or email from OSG informing them of the certification decision and any requirements for ongoing certification. Additionally you can check on your inspection status by emailing a request to certification@oregonsungrown.org.

Annual renewal contract and inspection

The certification will need to be renewed annually. At that time the annual certification fees will be due. Application costs are billed separately from the annual inspection fee. For the certification to remain in good standing, every operation must be re-inspected annually and continue to notify the OSG committee of any changes to the farm. The annual renewal may be a site visit or a desktop review based on the OSG committee preference and changes that have occurred on the farm since the previous inspection.

Disqualification from program

A farm may be disqualified from the program at any time for any one of the following reasons:

  • Over the quantity of plants/canopy size allowed by the State of Oregon
  • Use of non-approved herbicides or inputs
  • The use of non-approved farming practices
  • Low quality plants/products
  • Lack of adherence to OHA/OLCC/OSGG guidelines

If there are any questions about the status of a certification contact your OSG certification committee at certification@oregonsungrown.org.

Record Keeping

Record keeping requirements for OSG certification

A certified farm must maintain records concerning the production, harvesting, and sale of cannabis that is intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as part of the OSG label.

The farms records will be reviewed by the inspector during the on-site visit, however it is up to the farm management to ensure all documents are keep up to date and certify that the documents, records, testing and receipts were prepared under the direct supervision of farm management. The inspector will review the farm’s documents, receipts, procedures, operations and processes. If the farm’s procedures, operations, and processes are not documented this may result in the denial of the application.

OSG certification will rely on and expect the farm manager to ensure all records have been prepared honestly and with integrity. Falsifying documents will result in the suspension the farms certification and potential removal from the program. Records must be kept for 5 years to ensure compliance.

Required records for certification

  • OHA and/or OLCC State License(s) and associated records
  • State required reporting must be up to date and current
  • Receipts for materials, inputs and additives used (soils, fertilizers)
  • Field History Sheet
  • Location and map of various farm operations and buildings utilized in cannabis production
  • Compost management record
  • Neighbor notification letter or statement
  • Testing reports
  • Application of pesticides records or reports
  • Training records
  • Farm operations, procedures, and process documentation

The farm must make such records available for inspection at all times.  Records must be kept in accordance with the State of Oregon rules and regulations.

Testing

All testing must be in accordance with the Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ORELAP). All testing must be completed by an accredited laboratory for the testing of cannabis under ORS 475B.550 to 475B.590. No residue of prohibited substances exceeding 5% of the EPA tolerance (inspector may require residue analysis if there is a reason to believe that a crop has come in contact with prohibited substances or was produced using GMOs).

Testing required:

  • Water quality must be tested for to ensure it is potable and safe for drinking if water is obtained from a well source or water distributor.
  • All cannabis to be labeled with the OSG label must be tested for pesticides and bacteria, residual solvents, metals and other contaminants.  
  • Pesticide and Fertilizer Application

Pesticide Uses and Application Standards

Pesticides applied to a product that will be inhaled, ingested and/or absorbed through the skin must be applied by an individual with a valid pesticide applicators license applying only OSG approved pesticides (see pesticide list). It’s strongly recommended that the use of beneficial insects and other natural or mechanical methods be utilized before the use of pesticides is considered.

Use pesticides only when justified and only those on the OSG approved list. All pesticides must be applied by a competent person with proper personal protective equipment.

Selection of pesticides is evaluated by the certification program on a regular basis based on the following criteria

  • Toxicity to humans
  • Toxicity to key natural enemies
  • Toxicity to other natural organisms
  • Pollution of ground and/or surface water

OSG has compiled a list of pesticide products that are in accordance with the OSG Certification Program. Farms must have an approved Certified Pesticide Applicator on-site and keep records on the application of all pesticides.  If there is a question about whether or not a specific pesticide is allowable please send a request to certification@oregonsungrown.org listing the manufacturer's name and any other pertinent information about the pesticide in question.  Currently OSG's list of approved pesticides matches the State of Oregon's list.

A list developed by the State of Oregon identifies the pesticides that can be used legally in accordance with the Pesticide Applicators' Act and the rules outlined for production of Cannabis (marijuana and industrial hemp) and the State of Oregon. See application amendment for rules and products that are approved by the OSG.

Any individual on the farm that handles or is transporting pesticide products must be notified of the dangers of handling those pesticides and be properly trained. Plants treated with pesticides must be clearly marked. Workers must be notified which plants have been treated with pesticides and how long to stay clear of that area. Pesticide labels contain both mandatory and advisory statements in order to provide protection for the pesticide user and those safety requirements differ for indoor and outdoor cannabis operations. Documentation of the application of all pesticides must be kept on-site.

Pesticide application guidelines

  • The goal is to not use any pesticides on cannabis which the OSG label has not intended.
  • Documentation of all application of OSG approved pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides) must be kept on-site.
  • Pesticides must be stored in accordance with all State guidelines.
  • Dry pesticides must be stored above liquid ones.
  • An inventory of all pesticide products on-site must be kept along with associated labels.
  • All excess or out of date pesticides must be applied or disposed of properly according to the directions on the specific pesticide label.
  • All workers applying pesticides must utilize all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Farms using materials, fertilizers, pesticides or GMO products known to be out of compliance with Organic standards as defined by the National Organic certification agency will be denied OSG certification.

Materials

OSG has worked with farm owners to compile a list of fertilizers and inputs from the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI), California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

The following guidelines will apply to all certified farms.

  • Materials sourced for the farm must not be genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
  • All inputs should be organic whenever possible.
  • Farms must use only natural inputs that have been previously approved for use and listed on the OSG list of acceptable inputs.
  • Farms are not allowed to use prohibited inputs as defined by the OSG list of prohibited inputs.
  • Use of sewage sludge or irradiation is prohibited.
  • There must be continuous efforts by the farmer to improve the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the soil, minimize soil erosion, and implement soil building crop rotations.
  • Fertility management must not contaminate crops, soil, or water with plant nutrients, pathogens, heavy metals, or prohibited substances.
  • Use of known GMO seedlings is strictly prohibited.
  • A list of all imported soil must be maintained and receipts kept.
  • Use only non GMO, Organinc, and natural soil additives.
  • Use of native soil is encouraged but not required.
  • Documentation of the disposal method of previous year’s soil (i.e. composted).
  • Structure, depth, fertility, fauna and micro-flora of the soil must be conserved and nutrients and organic matter recycled where ever possible.

Nutrients and Fertilizer Application

The following guidelines will be followed concerning nutrients and fertilizers when considering OSG certification.

  • Document the addition of all additional nutrient inputs.
  • Develop a fertilizer plan that is available upon inspector request.
  • A nutrient balance sheet should be developed for the cannabis cultivation area for all macro and micro-nutrient inputs.
  • Do not over use nutrients.
  • Fertilizer must be stored to avoid contamination with water resources.
  • Fertilizers need to be stored in a covered, dry, and clean area.
  • Fertilizers must be stored separately from food products.

Water Usage and Irrigation

The following guidelines concerning water usage and conservation should be observed by all farms seeking OSG certification.

  • The farm uses water monitoring and conservation techniques.
  • No use of flood irrigation.
  • Active use of a water conservation and water application plan.
  • All water resources must be used in accordance with the Clean Water Act (CWA) and used responsibly and ethically.
  • Use of responsible flushing practices.

Compost

The use of purchased or on-site produced compost is encouraged. Below are a few guidelines for effective compost usage as following the National Organic Program (NOP).

  • All manure or compost piles must be covered during rainy periods.
  • Organic farm waste is recycled or composted on-site.
  • Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin.
  • Moisten dry materials as they are added.
  • Addition of previous year’s soil is allowed.
  • Maintain/use of compost that has been properly composted for approximately one year. If the farm uses other compost practices an explanation is required.

Facility Management

The management of the whole farm will be considered during the OSG certification inspection. The following farm and facility elements will be considered as part of the overall farm compliance.

  • The cannabis cultivation area must have distinct or defined boundaries.
  • A map of the entire farm and individual growing areas including areas not involved with cannabis cultivation and areas not included in the certification application will need to be available for review by the inspector.
  • Prevention of commingling of split operations to prevent contamination from non-organic portions of the farm must be maintained.
  • Field burning to dispose of crop residues is not allowed.
  • Farms may burn to suppress weed growth, or stimulate seed germination.

Neighbor Notification

There are no requirements for marijuana growers to notify neighbors about growing operations or to mitigate the smell from plants. However the OSG would like to promote good neighbor practices and notifying the surrounding property owners of what the farm plans to do and how it could impact the neighborhood is a key step in promoting a positive public opinion about the marijuana industry. Below is a brief list of things a farm can do to insure good neighbor practices.  Notify any and all neighbors that may be affected by the farm’s operations.

Sanitation

  • Keep the farm clean and free of debris and trash
  • Dirty clothes, tools, skin, hair, and shoes can bring in pests and molds, so farm workers should be clean before working with or around cannabis products.
  • Areas designated for seasonal worker living space that includes camping areas or RVs should be kept neat and clean of trash and rubbish.

Defining site boundaries

  • Utilize fencing, living fences, security fences, or out of view cannabis cultivation area.

Noise and light pollution

  • City/County Ordinances for noise and light use from farm operations must be followed (i.e. alarms, security system, fans and lights for cultivation areas).

Environmental Compliance

Being part of the OSG certification is also saying yes to conserving natural resources, waterways, air quality, and indigenous flora and fauna health. The following guidelines are put in place to help promote these efforts and to help insure that OSG certified farms maintain the highest level of sustainability and harmony with their natural surroundings.

Water Quality

  • The farm activities should avoid waterways and stream areas.
  • Livestock should be kept away from water resources.
  • Vegetative buffers should be located between farm operations and waterways.
  • Take actions to reduce soil loss or erosion that could impact waterways.
  • Waterways should be kept clear and without blockades to allow fish to travel freely.
  • Proactive steps must be taken to prevent contamination from adjoining land uses.
  • Greenhouse water should be diverted away from contaminants.

Beneficial insects and plants

  • The farm is encouraged to use beneficial insects and plant varieties to encourage those insects.
  • Bee populations are encouraged with beneficial plants or inclusion of an apiary on the farm.
  • The use of pesticides that could harm beneficial insects or plants should be avoided.
  • Utilize companion planting and banker plant systems.
  • Do not burn crop residue. Use burning only for eradication of non-beneficial plants or seed germination.

Erosion and Sedimentation Control

  • Install cover crops during non-growing months.
  • The farm manager should implement measures to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation.

Staff Training, Welfare and Hygiene

Maintaining a safe, healthy, work environment for seasonal farm workers and regular employees is an important element in the OSG certification program. The following guidelines are presented to assist in setting up and maintaining a safe and healthy work-place.

Training

  • A documented and procedural training program should be implemented and all employees should go through it and have access to the documentation at all times.
  • All employees must be trained in the safe and proper use of any and all equipment they are being asked to use.
  • Any workers or employees working in or around any hazardous materials on the farm (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) must have received proper training, or certification prior to handling such materials.
  • Hazardous material Safety Data Sheets (SDS) need to be posted on-site for all hazardous materials used on the farm.

Worker Hygiene

  • Hand washing equipment and clean toilet facilities must be located at a distance less than that required by State health and safety requirements.
  • All workers should have clean and sanitary living conditions, as well as access to food.
  • Safe and clean drinking water should be available to workers as required by State law.
  • Dirty clothes, tools, skin, hair, and shoes can bring in pests, molds and other contaminants, so farm workers should be clean before working with or around cannabis products.
  • The farm must follow city/county ordinances on housing for workers.

Staff Welfare/Safety

  • Workers are encouraged to take hydration breaks during hot weather to prevent heat exhaustion.
  • The farm management is responsible for ensuring first aid kits and fire extinguishers are on-site, stocked, and available.
  • Emergency contact information must be kept in plain view.
  • All workers must be of legal age to work with cannabis. No minors are allowed in the cannabis work area accordance with Oregon State Law.
  • Treatment of laborers must be within human health and safety standards.
  • All required labor and safety standards must be displayed in accordance with State and Federal requirements.