Organic Farming, Is It for Me?
Making any changes in your farming practices requires careful thought, planning and study. Transitioning your farm to and organic production system requires more than simply having a piece of land that has been chemical-free for three or more years.
In order to determine if organic farming will work for you financially, you will need to consider different kinds of input costs, certification costs, and the current price of organic commodities.
One useful spreadsheet for calculating cost of production is available from North Dakota State University Agriculture and University Extension.
Organic certification requires that each farm and processing facility have in place a system of tracking where each crop was grown, what practices were used, where and when the product was sold. In addition each farm must have a written farm plan. Exactly what paperwork is required may vary with each certifier. Contact the certifier you or your buyer chooses for more information. Need to find a certifier? Check our certification page for a list of certification companies licensed in the state of North Dakota. A helpful tool for writing your farm plan can be found at the Rodale Institute's web site.
Transitioning to Organic
Transitioning your farm from a system of conventional agriculture to an organic system is much easier if you use careful planning. There are many resources available to help you make the switch. Nothing, however, is more helpful than talking to other farmers. Find an organic farming association and get to know the people who have been doing it. Check out our Links page for help finding organic farming groups in the state.
Organic certification companies also can help you find information to help transition your farm to organic production.
There are a growing number of sources available for help.
The Organic Trade Association has a helpful web site devoted to helping new and established organic producers. Click here for transitioning help: How to Go Organic.
The Rodale Institute's, well known for their "Organic Gardening" and "New Farm" magazines has developed an excellent online Organic Transition Course.