Success with any new venture relies heavily on how well it has been planned out. If you are considering becoming an organic farm or producing anything with a “certified organic” label, you must create a viable plan before you take any steps. It’s part of the long process to certification.
Because of how much planning is involved (not to mention fees and the costs of switching from one way of doing things to another ) there are many things to consider. However, these are some of the first things you must know to make the best planning decisions.
There Are Better Alternatives to Non-Organic Chemicals
One of the main concerns of new organic farmers is that switching to an organic method of growing will be that much more difficult. However, things couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, with the use of a few basic agricultural techniques, you could be using less water and fertilizer than you’ve ever needed while having healthier plants and a larger yield.
The application of better science to organic farms is the reason it’s becoming the better choice. One of the significant innovation types of farms are just starting to pick up on is the widespread use of bio-inoculants.
For example, soybeans that are grown with a mycorrhizal inoculant develop better root systems and a symbiotic relationship with the fungus. That means that they require less fertilizer and water because they have better access to it on their own. That also means better health overall and resilience to varied weather conditions- including drought, flood, high winds, and more.
There Are Fees – But They May Be Worth It
Yes, to become certified organic you must pay for the label. In a few cases, the company you are supplying may pay those fees for you. In most cases, you will be on your own. However, certain organic products command up to twice as much as their non-certified counterparts.
The organic market in the US alone is growing larger and faster every single year. Further, with the high demand for organic grains and animal feeds, there is a coming shortage that is driving up prices. The same is true of organic herbs and spices- a category that has seen a 35% increase, at a minimum, for two years in a row.
There are 3 “Transition” Years – But You Could Still Command Organic Prices
This is one of the first and most daunting facts any aspiring organic farmer learns. For three years, you have to implement your organic growing plan and swear off any “chemical” fertilizers, treatments, or sprays. During that type, you also can’t call anything you produce organic- you only get that label once the three-year process is over and you have proven that you can keep it up.
However, you can get a new label as a “transitional” farm. If you happen to be a farm that produces things like animal feeds or cereal grains, this transitional label might be just as valuable. Certain food producers, realizing that there is a shortage of willing and certified organic US farms to meet their need may pay a premium to any certified “transitional” farm just like they would to a certified organic farm.