July 15, 2022

Don't Panic About Organic (Transition)

“Every major food company now has an organic division."

- Michael Pollan, acclaimed food and agriculture author, on growing organic. “There's more capital going into organic agriculture than ever before.”

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What’s top of mind for farm profitability?

Transitioning to organic production!

Pop quiz: In 2021, what were the total organic food sales in the United States? Answer: $57.5 billion.

No harmful pesticides. Just good vibes.

Organic agriculture continues to gain a larger share of the market as consumers' preferences and purchasing habits shift. Organic certification can offer new marketing and profit opportunities for your farm’s production.

Right... so, where’s the catch?

Making the transition to organic production takes both time and extensive planning. This week’s newsletter offers a few considerations that will help you get started with the organic transition process.

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This Week's Prosperity Checklist: Transitioning to Organic Production

1. Understand the timeframe required for certification.

Before you can get approval for organic certification, your farm will need to manage crops and livestock in accordance with the requirements laid out by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).General timeframes and requirements for transition:

2. Familiarize yourself with federal regulations.

Organic certification is only granted if you’ve been verified as using farming and processing practices that meet the NOP regulations; this means having an understanding of which practices and materials are allowed and which are strictly prohibited. So you’ll need an Organic Systems plan, which is required to apply for and retain your organic certification.

3. Identify and contact a certify agency.

Contact a certifier before you begin the transition process. These individuals may have additional requirements for certain materials and equipment, so check with your certifier for guidance about rules, regulations and USDA organic approved practices and materials.

4. Determine what land to transition.

You may feel more comfortable "experimenting" with organic production practices on one or two fields. While it is possible to transition an entire farm all at once, there are several options for organic transition:

Get funding for transitioning to organic production!

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) can offer financial assistance to help organic producers improve their operations or help producers transition to organic using a conservation plan tailored to their needs.

And you’re in luck! At FarmRaise we specialize in applying farmers and ranchers for EQIP and making them more competitive applicants.

SEE IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR EQIP FUNDING

transitioning to organic survey results from FarmRaise newsletter

This week's survey results are in:

Incredible! About 80% of those who responded are already knee deep in organic farming or currently considering it. Whether organic or not, may your farming be pest free and stress free!

Interested in learning more about transitioning to organic agriculture? Check out this “Guide for Conventional Farmers Transitioning to Organic Certification” published by the Agriculture Marketing Service (USDA-AMS). It’ll keep you entertained and informed this weekend. Knowledge is power!

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