Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

June 22, 2009

New Organic Vegetable Production Guides Now Available

Guides Assist Farmers who are Transitioning to Organic; Selling to Processors

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced the availability of organic production guides for growers of certain vegetable crops.  The new guides provide information for farmers on how to grow organic carrots, peas, snap beans, and cucurbits, which includes winter squash and cucumbers, for the processing sector.

“There is a growing interest from food processors here in New York State to procure local and organically grown vegetables,” the Commissioner said.  “We also have farmers who are seeking to transition to organic production and are in need of specific information on how to grow certain crops.  These production guides were developed in response to both of those desires and are the first in what we hope will be a series of useful and practical production guides for those seeking to transition into organic.”

These new production guides provide an overall approach for organic production of the specified crops.  With limited pest control products available for use in organic production systems, these guides offer commercial vegetable producers organic integrated pest management (IPM) techniques for four major processing vegetable crops.  IPM techniques such as keeping accurate pest history records, selecting the proper site, and preventing pest outbreaks through use of crop rotation, resistant varieties and biological controls are all components of successful organic and IPM management techniques.  The guides may be downloaded at

Donald A. Rutz, Ph.D., Director of the New York State IPM Program, said, “The fundamentals of organic and IPM production practices are so similar that coordinating the development of these guides is a natural extension of our New York State IPM Program activities.  There is a lot of valuable information for organic growers at Cornell; assembling it in one place, identifying gaps, and searching for what’s been developed in other states provides growers with the best information available now and also identifies areas where research is needed.  And, like Commissioner Hooker, we enthusiastically look forward to expanding these partnerships to cover all aspects of organic agriculture in New York in the future.”

Development of the guides was funded in part by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Organic Development and Assistance Program, and coordinated by the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program with contributions from 19 professionals at Cornell University and Cooperative Extension.  Depending on their expertise, professionals provided input on soil fertility recommendations, crop rotations to prevent pests and disease incidence, and specific strategies to address common crop problems.

While the motivation behind these guides was to fulfill the demands of the processing sector, they may also serve as a useful resource for producers growing for the fresh market.

New York State ranks among the top ten states in the country for the number of organic farms.  In 2007, the U.S. Census identified 1,027 organic farms in New York State with nearly 121,000 acres in production, although only 736 farms are known to be certified organic.  Organic dairy farms are the largest segment of the organic farm community in New York State with nearly 400 farms.  The Census also found that 562 farms were transitioning another 30,687 acres to organic production.


2009 Press Releases