Transitioning to Organic Farming


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  • Biological controlsSystems approach appropriate to local conditionsInputs approved on the National List
  • Not all local food is organic, not all organic food is localBut there is a growing consumer demand for products which are both
  • Point 3: Also cannot use seal or make reference to organic certification
  • Renewed annually, process repeated annually
  • Most organic food is not sold through CSAs or Farmers Markets, but those can be great startup opportunities Handful of certified organic handlers for meat (esp poultry), meat products, fruits & veg in VADirect to grocers (whole foods)Example of Organic Valley and forming cooperatives to market products
  • Reiterate that this only applies to operations that have obtained organic certification.
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  • Transitioning to Organic Farming

    1. 1. Transitioning to Organic FarmingBetsy Rakola, Grants Management Specialist USDA Outreach Conference<br />Virginia State University<br />Petersburg, VA<br />March 14, 2011<br />National Organic Program<br />
    2. 2. What Does Organic Mean?*<br />Organic production:<br />A production system that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act and regulations to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.<br />*As defined by federal regulations<br />2<br />National Organic Program<br />
    3. 3. Market Opportunities<br />Demand outpaces supply<br /><ul><li>Organic sales grew from $3.5B in 1997 to nearly $22.2B in 2007
    4. 4. Fruits & vegetables have highest growth rates, account for 35% of organic farm sales
    5. 5. 2nd largest categories: beverages, </li></ul> dairy, and packaged foods<br />3<br />National Organic Program<br />
    6. 6. What Can Be Sold as Organic? <br />Agricultural products from a system that complies with the organic regulations<br />If gross annual sales are more than $5,000, then the operation must be certified<br />Less than $5,000: certification exemption<br />Still must follow organic regulations<br />May only sell direct<br />4<br />National Organic Program<br />
    7. 7. 5 Steps to Certification<br />Apply & develop an Organic Systems Plan (OSP)<br />Implement the OSP, get OSP <br />reviewed by certifying agent <br />On-farm inspection<br />Review of inspection report by certifying agent<br />Decision on certification by certifying agent<br />5<br />National Organic Program<br />
    8. 8. 6<br />National Organic Program<br />
    9. 9. How to Find a Certifying Agent<br />View the list at<br />13 certifying agents currently operate in VA<br />Find the one that works for you<br />Costs in Virginia are typically $800-$1000 per year, or $200-$250 after cost share reimbursement<br />Fee schedules, availability for Q&A, etc. vary <br />7<br />National Organic Program<br />
    10. 10. Sales Outlets<br />Direct to Consumer<br /><ul><li>Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)
    11. 11. Farmers Markets</li></ul>Packer/Processor<br /><ul><li>Contracts are common, especially for larger handlers
    12. 12. Most include quality standards, quality testing protocols</li></ul>8<br />National Organic Program<br />
    13. 13. USDA-AMS Market News provides price reports for selected organic products<br />9<br />Market News Reports<br /><br />National Organic Program<br />
    14. 14. Organic Certification Cost Share Programs<br />10<br />National Organic Program<br />
    15. 15. WHAT IT IS<br />Reimbursement of 75% of certification costs, up to a maximum of $750 annually<br />Includes application fees, inspection costs, etc. for USDA organic certification<br />All certified organic farmers, ranchers and processors are eligible<br />Not allowed for other certifications <br />11<br />National Organic Program<br />
    16. 16. Funding is Available<br />$6.2 million allocated nationwide in 2011<br />$50,000 in Virginia<br />$60,000 in North Carolina<br />$12,500 in West Virginia<br />12<br />National Organic Program<br />
    17. 17. Application Process<br />13<br />It’s easy! Apply Now!!<br /><ul><li>One-page application
    18. 18. Copy of invoice
    19. 19. W-9 or other tax form
    20. 20. Copy of certificate, if you’re newly certified</li></ul>National Organic Program<br />
    21. 21. Who to Contact<br />Virginia<br />Kent Lewis<br />804-371-6098<br /><br />West Virginia<br />Jean Smith<br />304-558-2210 <br /><br />North Carolina<br />Heather Lifsey<br />919-707-3127<br /><br />Other states:<br />14<br />National Organic Program<br />
    22. 22. For Further Information …<br />Subscribe to e-mail updates from the NOP<br /><br />
    23. 23. Questions?<br />Betsy Rakola<br />(202) 720-0081<br /><br /><br />16<br />National Organic Program<br />