Organic Production and Marketing
Many small farms are engaged in or are considering organic production. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Census of Agriculture Pennsylvania had 600 certified farms in 2012 with the majority of farms producing over $50,000 per year in sales.
Organic production requires years of planning and research to benefit from the possible increase in selling prices. With certification requiring three years of production records of the practices followed, planning is key. Unfortunately, producing organically without becoming certified comes down to your word that you are organic without actual proof.
Penn State Extension’s Small-scale and Part-time Farming Project publishes a series of free publications titled Agricultural Alternatives. This publication series contains a publication titled Agricultural Alternatives: Organic Vegetable Production which provides an overview of organic production. Penn State also has an organic production web site that can be found here. This site contains information covering organic field crops along with vegetable crops and tips for controlling several insects.
To become certified you will need to work with an organic certifying agency and you may cross state lines to work with one of these agencies. To find a listing or these agencies and additional resources, click here.
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service is charged as the regulatory agency for the National Organic Program. You should visit this site when considering organic production.