SPARKS, Nev. – Producers of organic foods will have to find another way to validate their products as organic. The Nevada Department of Agriculture decided to end its state-run organic certification program.

The Nevada legislature intended for the program to be self-sustaining within a few years after the program's inception in 1997. But Jim Barbee, NDA director, said funding problems have dogged the program since then.

"With the current fee structure, a state-operated organic certification program has left the department with a significant budget shortfall, resulting in budgetary hardships for other NDA programs, the NDA reported in May.

Options put forth by the NDA included raising fees; increase the numbers of organic producers and handlers; and transition to third-party certification providers. The NDA also asked for funds from the Nevada legislature, but that effort failed.

NDA said it would continue to support organic food producers. Producers who successfully receive certification through any certifier remain eligible to receive funding as part of the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program which offsets costs for certified organic companies in Nevada.