What Organic Farming Methods are required to be certified organic?
To answer that question, we need to address some other questions first. What are organic farming methods, and how does that fit into your specific farm or garden?
Organic farming methods combine scientific knowledge of ecology and modern technology with traditional farming practices based on naturally occurring biological processes. Organic farmers improve their products and practices by following agreed upon regulations which use natural pesticides and fertilizers.
Organic farming methods use crop rotation, as well as diversity to attract natural elements to protect and enhance the productivity of the farm. The more the diversity, the better the farm appears to produce and remain healthy
The principal methods of organic farming include :
Biological pest control, that use the natural environment to attract natural insect predators
Cover crops are planted to fix nitrogen to the soil
Natural insect predators are encouraged, crops are rotated to confuse pests and renew soil, and natural materials such as mulches are used to control disease and weeds.
Organic farmers are careful in their selection of plant breeds, rather than genetically modifying seeds and products, they may “Breed” different plants, but generally the smaller farms use Heirloom seeds of those that I have spoken with.
Farm size in great measure determines the general approach and specific tools and methods.
Organic Farming Methods For Large Farms
Major food corporations are involved in all aspects of organic production on a large scale, whereas the smaller family farm, also known as the mixed vegetable organic market is often associated with fresh, locally grown produce.
In Large corporate farms, usually not Organic, food is grown in very large areas, planting only one variety. This style of farming may be more cost effective, however, there are large downsides. They usually rely upon pesticides and other products to increase production. They have even gone to the point of spraying the harvested crops with a chemical, potato family, that keeps the different crops from sprouting, thus making it last longer during transportation and shelf life in the markets.
Organic grain farms often involve much larger area. Larger organic farms tend to use methods and equipment similar to conventional farms, centered on use of the tractor in all aspects of the operation. The size and volume of product requires intensive work, and thus equipment is vital to their operation.
The High priced tractors that the corporate farms usually use may not be right for you. However, if you are an Organic Grain Farmer, you need to weigh the cost of new equipment, compared to equipment that is mechanically sound to not only increase your output, and the time you spend on maintenance and possible contamination of your soil and crops with an older model.
Today, Organic Farm Methods include the use of tractors and other motorized tools. The maintenance on which is closely monitored by the farmer and gardener.
Organic Farming Methods For Smaller Farms
The smaller organic farms range from under 1 acre to just under 100 acres according to the Census reports. That appears to be changing as technology catches up with farming. There are ways to have your tractor provide for your needs, without the concern of equipment that may be expensive both time wise and maintenance cost concerns.
There are also ways to lower the workload of the farm by paying attention to how you plant your crops! The less exposed soil you have on your farm, the less places weeds and unwanted seed have a place to grab a foothold in your fields.
How USDA Organic Certification relates to your Organic Farming Methods
You need to follow the regulations agreed to by Organic farmers, as those are the guidelines to ensure your products meet the USDA standards which will reassure your clients that you have been inspected and agreed to only produce top quality products that will help them to continue on their quest to be healthy.
If you are serious about increasing the profitability of your farm or garden, click on the USDA guidelines link (Organic Farming methods). It is an extensive webpage but will give you the required regulations to obtain USDA Organic Certification.
We will be presenting a webinar with some expert guests on USDA Organic Certification, as well as other tips and money saving ideas in the near future.
Sign up below for our newletter information and we will keep you informed of when that will be. I would also like to give you a short booklet that we produced on how to move toward increasing your enjoyment and profit from your Organic business and lifestyle
Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams
Chris Downs — The Caretaker