By Mary Bergin
The Capital Times

The “100 percent organic” label is the federal government’s way of defining product purity, but not all organic farmers say it’s worth the work or expense to obtain.

A majority of the 22 family farms in the Home Grown Wisconsin cooperative are certified organic, says Suzanne Rubinstein, general manager. Certification will be required of all members by 2005.

“But the co-op can’t speak as a solid voice on that, for this year,” she says, declining to elaborate.

Harmony Valley Farm, Viroqua, is among those that sought the certification shortly after U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards for organic food and product labeling were established in 2001 and went into effect in 2002. The process costs about $300 per year, says Harmony operator Linda Halley. The farm also pays Midwest Organic Services Association 0.005 percent of its sales in order to use the certifier’s seal.

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