In the past 15 years the organic farming movement has grown by leaps and bounds as consumers have rallied behind the ideas of health, sustainability and conservation of natural resources. In 2002, the U.S. department of Agriculture’s regulations regarding certified organic farming practices made national standards for production and processing of crops and livestock. They also established labeling, certification, accreditation, enforcement and testing requirements. The text of the rule, along with policy statements, program updates, a list of accredited certifying agents, complaint procedures, and other related information can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop.
For those who are interested in finding local farmers who specialize in organic products please visit our Local Foods page.
If you are interested in becoming an organic farmer or transitioning an existing farm to organic there are many resources and funding opportunities available to you. Financial assistance may be available through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Contact our local NRCS District Conservationist Jerod Chew for technical and financial assistance.
Below are just a few places where you may find information, classes and articles to help you get started or answers to particular problems on your farm.
Find research-based information from America’s land-grant universities:
The website page below reviews requirements for organic certification:
Online courses on some aspects of organic farming can be found at:
The Rodale Institute’s Organic Transition Course is a 15-hour online program designed to help you understand the National Organic Standards and use them as your framework for making the transition to organic production.
The National Organic Program (NOP) is a regulatory program housed within the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. They are responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products. These standards assure consumers that products with the USDA organic seal meet consistent, uniform standards. Their regulations do not address food safety or nutrition.
For more information visit their website:
The USDA is available to help farmers transition to organic farming methods or start new organic farms. The fact sheets below have been developed to help with the basic information needed:
The USDA Organic Insider is an email update service that informs the organic community on a wide range of functions, including regulatory updates, requests for public comments, and USDA programs and services. To view archived editions visit their website at:
NCAT Sustainable Agriculture website offers resources which can help guide you in preparing for organic certification and in production methods for a range of organic crops and livestock. Additional publications offered deal with issues related to specific products, production methods, and marketing. Visit their website at
Visit the NRCS Science and Technology Training Library to view their archive of conservation webinars. You can also sign up to be notified of upcoming webinars: