Three Tiers

The Marketing Agreement is completely voluntary and open to farms and markets of all sizes. It provides this flexibility through a “Three-Tier” approach, which is designed to allow a number of objectives to be met at all levels. With this method it is important to understand the standards do not change at each level, they are only implemented given the risk presented.

The research regarding this multi-tier approach has been conducted under the USDA program, NIFSI. Doctors Le Jejune and Doohan (peer reviewed and published) confirmed a tiered approach requirement.





Tier I Operators with direct farm sales, roadside farm markets, farmer’s markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and other operators who do not wish to participate in the other tier levels but desire to demonstrate the Ohio food safety standard Annual training requirement and the core standards Voluntary compliance and random inspections
Tier II Operators with intra-state sales, designed for produce auction – type operations and produce handlers in general Annual training requirementand the core standards Mandatory compliance and scheduled inspections
Tier III Operators at the inter-state and national level. GFSI audits offered in subsequent years. Annual training requirement and the core standards. GFSI/ISO 17065 audit standards. Mandatory inspections and unannounced inspections


  1. OPMA certification is based on a robust standards and inspections program, and the continuous improvement of these key items. Inspections are scored as “Pass” or “Fail” based on the presented standards.
  2. It is possible to be certified in more than one tier. For example, if you wish to operate in a farmers market, then Tier I would fit that need. And if you wished to sell a particular commodity or more than one to a regional buyer, then Tier II would fit that need.
  3. Most small farmers will fit in Tier I. This is because the cost of inspection or the cost to refit their operation to service the standards in a higher risk category may be prohibitive to a smaller producer and unnecessary.
  4. Those who do not fit or desire to be in Tier I will normally fall into Tier II – most everyone will because they sell to regional or nationwide accounts.

List of Approved Farms (Producers)

An approved producer is notified within 14 days of inspection of their certification status. A completed inspection does not constitute a certification action by the Compliance Committee.

Polter Berry Farms – Fremont, OH
Witten Produce Patch – Beverly, OH
Fulton Farms – Troy, OH
Catalpa Farms – Columbiana, OH
McMaster Farms – Columbiana, OH
Darr Farms – Newcomerstown, OH
Hidden Hills Orchard – Marietta, OH