PA Department of Agriculture–Transition to Organic
Find information regarding making the transition to organic farming in PA on the PA Department of Agriculture's website. Includes information on finding an organic certifier.
BACKGROUND OF PENNSYLVANIA CERTIFIED ORGANICIn 1985, a group of organic farmers in the Lancaster County area formed a Pennsylvania chapter of the Organic Crop Improvement Association. The Pennsylvania chapter performed certification services for its members for about 15 years. In 1997, believing that a Pennsylvania-based organization would better serve the needs of our state’s organic community, some chapters members incorporated as a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization named Pennsylvania Certified Organic.
A new course on Organic Dairy Compliance is now available in the free, online Organic Integrity Learning Center. The course provides an overview of the USDA organic livestock standards with a special focus on dairy operations. Target audiences include certifiers, inspectors and reviewers who assess organic dairies for compliance with the USDA organic regulations, as well organic livestock and dairy operations interested in gaining a better understanding of the federal requirements.
Course lessons include:
- Livestock Requirements Refresher
- Defining the Grazing Season
- Discontinuous Grazing and Confinement
- Best Practices for Inspecting Dairy Operations
Access the New Course
- People with an Account: Access the Learning Center at http://usda.blackboard.com/.
- People without an Account: Review “Getting Started” information and sign up for an account at https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/organic-certification/training.
- For questions about the Organic Integrity Learning Center, contact USDA-NOP@apvit.com.
- Rodale Institute: https://rodaleinstitute.org/why-organic/organic-farming-practices/soil-health/
- Rodale Institute’s Transition to Organic – Rodale has free transition consultation for PA Farmers for a limited time (as of 2019): https://rodaleinstitute.org/blog/organic-resources-free-for-pa-farmers/
- The Organic Center: https://www.organic-center.org/
- Organic Farming Research Foundation: https://ofrf.org/
- Organic Pesticides: http://npic.orst.edu/ingred/organic.html
Rodale Institute’s farmer consulting services will assist farmers interested in transitioning from conventional to organic agriculture in areas such as certification, crop rotation planning, recordkeeping, marketing, equipment advice, weed control methods, soil sampling, seed sourcing and more. Aiming to take a more active role in supporting organic farmers on the ground, Rodale Institute brings over 70 years of expertise to the table through research and education. While this program is offered to farmers nationwide, Rodale Institute’s consulting services are free to Pennsylvania farmers.https://rodaleinstitute.org/
USDA Resource Websites for Organic Certification
Two good USDA resources for farmers looking to grow or transition to organic production. https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/10%20Guide%20to%20Transitional%20Farming%20FINAL%20RGK%20V2.pdf https://www.usda.gov/topics/organic/get-organic-training-and-transition-assistance
USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS)
The National Agricultural Statistics Service provides timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture.
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