Resources for Organic Farming Information
Organic agricultural production is very similar to conventional production in relation to equipment, labor needs, etc. Soil fertility and pest management are significantly different, however, as is animal treatment, in the case of illness. Written resources are now generally available, and some are free. Companies, such as organic milk processors, also assist farmers with specific issues. Cornell Cooperative Extension may have staff with organic expertise. County and regional extension staff can always tap University-level extension staff when necessary. A few of the many resources are listed below. The web and organic agricultural professionals should be consulted for new and up-to-date production information.
Organizations comprised of organic farmers have compiled reading and information lists and, in some cases, extension-style information sheets on specific crops or topics that their farmers recommend to other farmers. These sites also may also provide strategies for dealing with for specific problems. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Inc. is the oldest organic farming group in New York State. Other northeast organizations with applicable resource lists include NOFA-VT and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association or MOFGA.
Organic dairies are part of the fastest-growing segment of the organic farming sector. Two organic dairy resources have been written by NOFA-NY for farmers interested in organic dairy farming.
- The Transitioning to Organic Dairy Management Self-Assessment Workbook introduces the basic requirements for managing a certified organic dairy. It also provides farmers with questions to help evaluate whether this is a good option for their farm and business partners. The activities in the self-assessment workbook will help identify the infrastructure and management changes you will have to implement and where to source information along the way.
- The information in the self-assessment workbook is explored in greater detail by another NOFA-NY publication, The Organic Dairy Handbook: a Comprehensive Guide to the Transition and Beyond. It is a whole-farm management resource for farmers interested in organic production. The handbook is a complete survey of proven options for all aspects of organic dairy management including two major risk sources: the management of herd health and animal nutrition. View both of these publications on NOFA-NY's website.
Fertility Management Manual written by Roxbury Farm managers
Roxbury Farm CSA, with farm production manuals
Organic grain production and other resources, University of North Carolina webpages.
Organic Crop Production Guide, University of Pennsylvania, published 2015.
"The Organic Grain Grower" by Jack Lazor, published by Chelsea Green, 2013. Available in bookstores.
Organic Transition Planner, USDA SARE, 2015
Cornell University has a number of resources for organic producers organized on their organic webpage. Production resources are:
- Cornell University's New York State Integrated Pest Management program. The guides may be downloaded for free or can be read on line. The production guides are: apples, green snap beans, carrots, cole crops, cucurbits, grapes, lettuce, green peas, potatoes, spinach, and strawberries. There is an additional guide for organic storage of fruits and vegetables. There is also a guide for IPM control of dairy and livestock pests - a one-of-a-kind tool for producers.
The Organic Materials Review Institute. review proprietary product ingredients and maintains the confidentiality of the ingredient list for inputs for organic producers. Products that pass their review are listed on their website. However, organic producers should always check with their certification agency before using any new products.