MOSA Certified Organic is one of the largest organic certifiers in the United States, and the largest certifier of livestock and dairy. We currently certify nearly 2000 operations, including a wide diversity of farms and hundreds of organic processors, distributors, retailers and restaurants. MOSA was founded in 1999 and was among the first agencies to be accredited by the USDA in 2002 when the National Organic Standards went into effect. MOSA is a proven leader in the development, continuous improvement, and enforcement of these standards.
MOSA works with a great team of contractor inspectors throughout our service region to conduct our clients’ annual organic inspections. To meet the growing need of our industry, MOSA is looking for trained contract inspectors in our Areas of Service.
Why an Organic Inspection Career Might be Right for You
Contract inspector work is a great opportunity for those that are looking for a flexible career working with organic farmers and organic processors in their region. Contract inspectors determine their own workload and schedules, and balance their time between on-location inspections and in-office report writing.
Contract inspection work is ideal for those with farming, food safety, and other regulatory compliance experience. Specifically, Contract Organic Inspectors verify the process of organic production and handling by a farm or business seeking organic certification meets the requirements of the USDA National Organic Standards.
This includes inspecting fields, livestock, buildings and equipment. Inspectors also note contamination and commingling risks, verify pest management efficacy, and audit sales and production records. An organic inspector can be a farm organic inspector or a processing (handling) organic inspector, or both. Inspectors do not not make certification decisions- they write reports and submit documentation that allows others to make informed decisions.
Contract Inspector Requirements
MOSA requires International Organic Inspectors Association IOIA training for all contract inspectors. MOSA does not supply training for contract inspectors.
There are three basic training programs available through IOIA:
Basic Crop Inspection
Basic Livestock Inspection
Basic Processing Inspection
Each program is offered as a stand alone training, often as a four or five day online course. Full details about the requirements, courses, and fees are available at: https://www.ioia.net/training-institute/
Additional free and paid trainings are available through IOIA and through the USDA Organic Learning Center.
Basic IOIA training and an apprenticeship in that area of training, is required for all new inspectors. IOIA and MOSA can assist with finding a mentor.
Current Contract Inspector Needs
MOSA is Currently Looking for Regional Contract Inspector in these Areas:
- Livestock Inspector - Midwest - WI & MN
MOSA does hire experienced staff inspectors as full time salaried employees as the need arises. Check our Join Us - Employee page to see our current open positions.
Contact MOSA: email@example.com
CURRENT JOB OPENINGS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What skills does MOSA look for in an inspector?
Knowledge: Organic inspectors must have a solid understanding of organic certification and inspection processes, knowing their role and limitations within them. Inspectors must know how to apply the regulations to practical situations and be able to explain applicable standards and certification procedures to the operator. Inspectors must also be proficient and current in their understanding of the specific procedures, policies and forms of each certifier for whom they work for.
Good observation skills: Inspectors must be able to understand the ‘big picture’ of an operating system and to observe the details which support, or contradict, the Organic System Plan.
The ability to conduct an Informational Interview. Asking open ended questions, asking the same question a different way and paraphrasing.
Documenting/writing: Writing that is clear, concise and easily understood by operator and Certification Specialist. Provide facts (not opinion), reference supporting documentation, citation of the appropriate NOP regulations and explanation of issues of concern.
Active listening: The ability to make a conscious decision to listen to and understand the speaker. To remain neutral and non-judgmental. Be patient, allow for pauses and short periods of silence.
Math skills: Being able to convert from one unit of measure to another, calculate yields, calculate annual feed requirements in livestock operations, use of formulas to verify in/out balances and mass-balance audits and use percentages to validate recipes and production reports etc.
Good Organization and time management skills. Inspections must be conducted with the authorized operator representative, moving from one area of operations to another in an efficient manner.
Sampling procedures: Sampling methods must be done according to MOSA policy. An inspector must only take samples if they have been trained and are authorized by MOSA.
Skills specific to inspection scope and complexity of the operation: Inspectors must have specific and advanced knowledge to a specific scope.
Does MOSA pay for my inspector training?
No, federal labor law prohibits MOSA from training you to complete work assigned per your contract with MOSA. When applying for contract work as an organic inspector with MOSA you must be fully trained, have completed mentorship and have sufficient experience to conduct the scope and complexity of work assigned. MOSA will provide training in how to use our systems and interpretation of our policies. We can provide group and one on one support as rules change and NOP requirements are clarified.
Are the IOIA webinars sufficient training?
IOIA offers basic National Organic Standards webinars that are geared toward preparing individuals who intend to take further training to become organic inspectors. These webinars are an introduction into the National Organic Standards and are highly recommended. Additionally, IOIA offers basic Crop, Livestock, and Processing online & in-person Inspector training. All courses include instruction on the certification process, relevant organic standards, inspection protocols, audit trail (record keeping) requirements, input materials, report writing, ethics, investigation skills, risk assessment, and effective communications. After successfully completing these courses you can begin your boots on the ground mentorship.
What are the next steps after I have taken the IOIA course?
After successfully completing an Inspector training course you will need to gain experience conducting inspections. The National Organic Standards require you complete an additional 50 hours of training, per scope, before you conduct inspections independently.
How do I find someone to take me on as an apprentice?
IOIA offers some apprenticeship programs. You can also contact the Inspection team at MOSA (firstname.lastname@example.org). We may be able to match you with an experienced inspector to complete this required training.
If I am hired by MOSA, how many inspections will I be assigned to do?
MOSA requires you to complete a minimum of 10 annual inspections per year. During the interview process we will discuss what you want your workload to be and will assign annual and/or additional inspections based on your capacity and desired workload.
Can inspecting for MOSA be a full-time job?
Yes, contract inspecting can be a full-time job. The National Organic Standards require annual inspections are conducted during the production season so inspectors wanting to work throughout the winter typically complete training to the Handling scope or complete unannounced inspections.
Can I work for more than one certification agency?
Yes, as a contract inspector with MOSA we do not limit your ability to work with other agencies.
How much does MOSA pay for each inspection?
Your fees are discussed during the interview process and negotiated based on your experience in various scopes and complexity of operations.
What supplies/equipment does MOSA provide, and what am I required to have at my own expense?
As an Independent contractor you are required to provide your own equipment and supplies. MOSA provides access to client information through our on-line database. You will need access to the internet, a computer, the ability to scan and update PDF’s, a phone or way to contact client to schedule inspections and transportation to and from on-site inspections. You may choose to print client information but it is not required by MOSA.
Does MOSA cover Contract Inspectors under their insurance?
No, as an Independent Contractor you are required to provide your own insurance.
How much travel is required for an inspector?
It is MOSA’s goal to match our Inspectors with clients that are no more than 100 miles away from your home base so you spend less time on the road and to reduce costs for our clients. However, there are opportunities to travel further if you desire.
Do inspections occur year-round?
The National Organic Standards require annual inspections are completed when the production of specific operations can be observed. For crop and ruminant livestock operations annual inspections must be completed during the growing/grazing season. Handling operations that produce are product year-round have more flexibility. In addition to annual inspections, certification agencies are required to complete a number of additional and/or unannounced inspections. These inspections are shorter in duration and focus on a specific issue vs verifying all aspects of an operation. MOSA has a number of unannounced and additional inspections during the winter months available for our contract inspectors.
Does MOSA provide update training on Organic Policy, or how do I keep up on regulations and industry issues?
Yes! MOSA hosts annual on-line training to keep you current on changes to our forms, processes, issues in the organic industry and new regulations. We also host a monthly online video conference with all our inspectors, providing a forum for you to ask questions, share experiences, tips and tricks and learn from fellow contract inspectors. Keep in mind, the National Organic Standards require working inspectors to complete10 hours of training, if inspecting to one scope and an additional 5 hours of annual training for each additional scope. MOSA is committed to keeping you up to date and providing the support you need to complete your assignments. MOSA’s Inspection Team is available Monday through Friday via phone or email.