F ESOURCES OR ORGANIC F OF R ARM DS ERS LOA !ATTRA—National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the U.S.Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT website, www.ncat.org/agri.html, for more information on our sustainable agriculture projects.
A Publication of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA oﬀers more than 240 publications on organic All of these publications, including a catalog that lists and sustainable agriculture topics, including crop all materials, can be downloaded free of charge production, rotational and multispecies grazing, at ATTRA’s website, www.attra.ncat.org. Paper intercropping, composting, ecological soil & pest copies can be ordered by calling the toll-free management, weed control, and agroforestry. telephone line, 1-800-346-9140. ATTRA Publications for Organic Producers The following publications about organic production can be found at www.attra.org/organic.htmlOrganic Farm Certiﬁcation & the Opportunities in Agriculture: Special Organic ResourcesNational Organic Program Transitioning toATTRA’s basic guide to the organic certi- Organic Production Information on Organicﬁcation process. Provides a brief history ATTRA has a special relationship with Production of fruits, vegetables,of organic certiﬁcation, steps in the cer- the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture ﬁeld crops, livestock & marketing.tiﬁcation process, how to evaluate a cer- Network (SAN) and distributes many www.attra.ncat.org/organic.htmltiﬁer, and how fees are assessed. of their publications. We are especiallywww.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/ pleased to provide this publication on Organic Seed Suppliers Searchorgancert.pdf transitioning to organic production. Organic growers must use organic seed Print only: 1-800-346-9140. if commercially available. Web only.Organic Certiﬁcation Process http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/altseed_Discusses in more detail the organic Organic Crops and search.php?certiﬁcation process—purposes and Livestock Workbooksbeneﬁts of organic certiﬁcation, steps to NCAT’s Organic Crops Workbook andorganic certiﬁcation, and the role of the Organic Pest Management Organic Livestock Workbook are the This site has a range of informationinspector. result of collaborative eﬀort with many about organic management of insect,www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/pdf/ leaders from the organic community. weed, and disease pests.organic_certiﬁcation.pdf Both publications reﬂect the perspec- www.attra.ncat.org/pest.html tive of organic inspectors and give theDocumentation Forms user a clear picture of all the details that Organic IPM Field GuideThese forms are tools for document- must be considered in developing a sys- This is a full-color pictorial guide abouting practices, inputs, and activities tem that is compliant with the National the concepts of organic IPM, outliningthat demonstrate compliance with the Organic Standard. Unresolved issues how to promote beneﬁcial organisms. ItNational Organic Standard. They are are highlighted and discussed. Excellent includes life cycle pictures of importantintended to make record keeping easy tools for anyone making the transition beneﬁcials and pests. Presented in fourand should be shown to the inspec- from a convention operation. sections, online or CD-ROM only.tor during annual inspections. Thereare four separate packages: “Field Crops: www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/ • Beneﬁcial Organisms, Beneﬁcial HabiCrops,” “Livestock,” “Market Farm” and pdf/cropsworkbook.pdf tat and Insect Pests“Orchard, Vineyard, & Berry Crops.” Livestock: www.attra.ncat.org/attra- • Plant Disease Managementwww://attra.ncat.org/organic.html pub/pdf/livestockworkbook.pdf • Weed Management • Vertebrate Pest ManagementNational Organic Program Com- Organic System Plan (OSP) www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summa-pliance Checklist for Producers Templates for Certiﬁers ries/organic_ipm.htmlA tool to assist farmers, ranchers, Contains template forms that are ininspectors, and certiﬁers in assessing common use by U.S. certiﬁers. Provides Organic Soils & Fertilizer Issuescompliance with the National Organic prospective organic producers with an www.attra.ncat.org/organic.html#soilsStandard. The document reformulates insight into the kinds of informationthe Regulations into “yes” and “no” they will need to provide when apply- Spanish Language Materialsquestions and reﬂects the requirements tion for certiﬁcation. ATTRA oﬀers many publications andof the Organic System Plan. www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/pdf/osp resources about organics in Spanish.www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/pdf/compliance.pdf templates.pdf http://attra.ncat.org/espanol/index.html IN THIS ISSUE: Page 9—Myths & Realities about Going Page 10 - 12—Where to Learn More Organic. Tips from Organic Inspectors about Organic Agriculture, Page 3 - 9—”Going Organic” on Transitioning Your Farm. Certiﬁcation, and MarketingPage 2 ATTRA The Organic Chronicles No. 1
ONE DAY OUR FARMER PETER IS OUT INSPECTING HIS FIELDSwww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 3
THE BUG SHRINKS PETER TO HIS SIZEPage 4 ATTRA The Organic Chronicles No. 1
PETER VISITS THE ORGANIC FARM OF JEFF AND ANNIE MAINSTREAM JUST DOWN THE ROAD.Page 8 ATTRA The Organic Chronicles No. 1
LATER AFTER PETER GETS HOME... WWW.ATTRA.NCAT.ORG Tips from Organic Inspectors on Transitioning Your Farm to Organic Production You don’t have to go hook, line, and sinker into organics. You can start with a ﬁeld or parcel. Keep separate records for the parcel and document all inputs, practices, etc. You don’t necessarily have to apply for certiﬁcation at the beginning of the 36-month transition period. Con- sult your certiﬁer to learn what will be required. You can generally wait until about six months before the ﬁrst har- vest that will occur after the transition period. The timing may depend on what you grow as your ﬁrst crop, so allow plenty of time. You must be able to document land use history. Myths and Realities about The greatest risks for transitioning producers are record keeping, human resource management, budgeting, and Going Organic coping with the economic transition. by Ann Baier, NCAT Program Specialist You will need a marketing plan for the crops you grow dur- ing your transition period. Even though you are managing the crops as organic during the transition, you will not be Myth Reality able to sell these crops as organic. The transitional label Yields will be Yields are comparable under well does not carry legal status. Since it is possible that your miserable. managed systems. yields might drop initially, you need to carefully consider Pests will Most pest problems can be prevented your markets and cash ﬂow. eat you up. using integrated approaches. While some crops may produce lower yields without syn- Weeds will take Weed management requires thetic fertilizers and pesticides, organic growers often over your farm. constant attention. have relatively low input costs, so your bottom line may Transitioning is Transition can be challenging: plan cash be steady. However, management costs may be higher, impossible. ﬂow with budget projections. at least initially while you are learning to manage a sys- tem diﬀerently. The organic premium may increase your The paperwork Recordkeeping can help your proﬁts after certiﬁcation is complete. will kill you. operation in many ways in addition to organic compliance. It takes time for your farm’s ecology to adjust to organic You’ll never Organic certiﬁcation expands your management. The natural processes will continue to make any market options and often gives develop as the farm becomes more balanced. money. premium prices. Not all growers ﬁnd the transition diﬃcult. Producers who It can’t be done. It can be done if you plan, persist, and are already rotating crops and using sustainable practices ask for help when you need it. will likely have an easier time.www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 9
Where to Learn More about Organic Agriculture, Certiﬁcation, and MarketingOrganic Certiﬁcation Universities with Organic Programs An increasing number of land grant colleges and stateand Education universities oﬀer training and research in organic agri-National Organizations culture methods. These include Cornell, Tufts, and the universities of Arkansas, California, Iowa, Michi-ATTRA National Sustainable Agriculture Information gan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, North Carolina, Ver-Service: 800-346-9140 mont, Washington, West Virginia, and many more. TheATTRA provides a wide range of information about all Organic Agricultural Consortium has compiled infor-aspects of organic certiﬁcation, practices, record keep- mation about organic research projects.ing, and documentation forms. www.organicaginfo.org.www.attra.ncat.org/organic.html#overview Midwestern OrganizationsNational Organic Program (NOP) Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education ServiceThis website has information on: Certifying Agents, (MOSES) 715-772-3153; www.mosesorganic.orgConsumer Information, NOP Regulations (Standards)& Guidelines for Producers, Handlers, Processors & Minnesota Organic Farmers Info Exchange ProgramRetailers, State & Cost Share Information, and the lat- 320-212-3008; http://moﬁe.coafes.umn.eduest news from the National Organic Program. Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Associationwww.ams.usda.gov/nop 614-421-2022; www.oeﬀa.orgFor a complete list of certiﬁers accredited by the USDA’sNational Organic Program, see this page of the website: Northeastern Organizationswww.ams.usda.gov/nop/CertifyingAgents/Accredited.html Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners AssociationOrganic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) 207-568-4142; www.mofga.orgOFRF oﬀers farmer research grants, advocates for Northeast Organic Network (NEON)organic public policy, and provides education and net- 518-583-4613; www.neon.cornell.eduworking initiatives about organic farming.www.ofrf.org Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) NOFA is a collaboration of seven states, Connecticut,Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, RhodeFor organic certiﬁers, growers, manufacturers, and sup- Island, and New Hampshire. The website has linkspliers, OMRI provides an independent review of prod- to each state chapter. [NOFA-NY is especially usefulucts intended for use in certiﬁed organic production, regarding certiﬁcation: http://nofany.org/index.html.]handling, and processing. Acceptable products appear 203-888-5146; www.nofa.orgon the OMRI Products List.www.omri.org Find Organizations Across the CountryIndependent Organic Inspector’s Association (IOIA)This group oﬀers trainings for organic inspectors and NCAT’s Sustainable Agriculture Organizations andresources related to organic certiﬁcation. Publications Database lets you search for the groupswww.ioia.net/ near you that deal with organic and sustainable farm production. Online only: www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/susagorg.phpPage 10 ATTRA The Organic Chronicles No. 1
Southern Organizations & Resources Organic Crop Production andCarolina Farm Stewardship Association Marketing Information919-542-2402; www.carolinafarmstewards.orgCenter for Environmental Farming Systems, Goldsboro, ATTRA’s Resource Guide to Organic & SustainableNC—established by NC State Univ., NC A&T Univ., Vegetable Productionand NC Dept of Agriculture & Consumer Services These educational materials support the needs of organic919-513-0954; www.cefs.ncsu.edu/organic.htm and sustainable vegetable farmers. www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/vegetable-guide.htmlFlorida Certiﬁed Organic Growers and Consumers352-377-6345; www.foginfo.org Cornell University Look here for links about various aspects of organic pro-Georgia Organics, Inc duction of fruits, vegetables, ﬁeld crops, dairy, cover770-993-5534; www.georgiaorganics.org crops, and rotations speciﬁc to the Northeast. www.organic.cornell.eduNCAT & IOIA’s Southern Organic Resource GuideOrganic resources in the South including Ark., Ky., Growing for MarketLa., Miss., and Tenn.. www.attra.ncat.org/sorg Monthly magazine about small-scale farming, sustain-Virginia Association for Biological Farming able agriculture and farm-direct marketing, with a focus540-745-4130; www.vabf.org on organic production. For growers of fresh produce and cut ﬂowers. www.growingformarket.comWestern Organizations & ResourcesAlternative Energy Resources Organization Organic Trade Association406-443-7272; www.aeromt.org OTA’s website provides extensive links on speciﬁc cropsCalifornia Certiﬁed Organic Farmers and topics such as soil and pest management.831-423-2263; www.ccof.org. Going Organic program: www.howtogoorganic.com/index.phpwww.ccof.org/goingorganic.php New FarmColorado Organic Producers Association970-588-2292; www.organiccolorado.org This website oﬀers detailed stories about organic prac- tices on speciﬁc farms as well as many other features. ItMontana Organic Association: sponsors half a dozen email discussion forums on topics406-887-2869; www.montanaorganicassociation.org such as no-till, organic certiﬁcation, and new farmers. www.newfarm.orgNew Mexico Organic Commodity Commission505-841-9065; http://nmocc.state.nm.us Sustainable Vegetable Production: Start-up to Market by Vernon Grubinger. NRAES, Ithaca, NY, 1999Oregon Tilth: 503-378-0690; www.tilth.org A wealth of practical information on such essential con- cerns as where to farm, how to steward your soil, whatOrganic Farmer’s Guide to OSU types of equipment to consider, when to start crops, howwww.extension.oregonstate.edu/catalogue/pdf/em8835.pdf to protect and handle them, and how to market them. Includes proﬁles of individual growers. 607-255-8770,Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association firstname.lastname@example.org, www.nraes.org877-326-5175; www.tofga.orgWashington Producers Tilth University of California206-442-7620; www.tilthproducers.org Website with links to several UC publications about organic production, including detailed organic cost pro-Washington State Dept of Ag Organic Food Program duction studies for many crops.360-902-1805; http://agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/Organic www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/Organic/index.htmwww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 11