The increase in health risks by contaminated foods has encouraged many farmers to switch to organic farming. The practices involved in organic farming don’t permit the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and hence, are completely natural. These practices also enhance the quality of soil, promote biodiversity, and preserve the environment.
Well, if you want to become an organic farmer, this article can be of great help. Given below is a step-to-step guide for putting organic farming into practice.
1. Learn Everything About The Term ‘Organic’
Learn the concept of the term ‘organic’ before opting for organic farming. Get to know that organic farming will involve 100% natural crop production without genetic modification and synthetic components. Moreover, it will raise livestock with natural feed and medications. Also, if you are a conventional farmer, you need to become ‘certified organic’ to sell your products.
2. Get Organic Farming Internship
Get hands-on experience by joining a certified organic farm and by working there for a period. Working on a farm will make you familiar with techniques of organic farming such as planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and so on.
3. Get A Degree In Organic Agriculture
Although the experience will help you start an organic farm, getting an apt education will make you a successful farmer. So, pursue an organic agriculture degree to learn about crop production, food science, organic marketing, etc. Prepare a list of colleges that offer a degree in organic farming. Get detailed information on admissions, cutoffs, courses, etc. before choosing a specific institution.
4. Device An Organic System Plan
You need to submit an organic system plan to a certifying agent in order to obtain organic certification for your farm. So, create an organic system plan depending on factors like the size of your farm, crops, etc. Visit the website of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and search ‘OSP Template’ to know what you need to submit to the agent. Also, download the application from the website.
5. Meet A Good Certifying Agent
Find agents from the USDA’s website to get your farm certified. Acquire information about your local agents, their address, fee structure, and so on. Finalize the agent and meet him for paper formalities.
6. Get Your Farm Inspected
Arrange a meeting with your agent or a third party and get your farm inspected. The investigation can be a long process that requires taking samples of your products, testing them, evaluating results, etc. Remember to keep patience until you receive your certification.
7. Accept Organic Certification
Receive your certification from your agent. If you didn’t pass, query him about the same and make changes accordingly. You can apply for a second inspection in case you fail to receive the certification.
8. Maintain Your Certification
Apply for recertification every year to maintain the status of your organic certification. This is required to prove that you continue to practice organic farming. If you do any alternations to your farm, make sure to inform about the same to your agent.
Becoming an organic farmer is not difficult if you are well-aware of the concept of organic farming, have adequate knowledge of its techniques, and have working experience. Also, you need to know how to earn organic certification and maintain the certification for the consistent business.