The first component to starting an organic farm is a shift in mind set and an understanding that this is not necessarily an easy process. It’ll require determination and commitment, but for those who want to work with nature rather than against it, it may be the best thing.
The transition from conventional to organic
In order to gain the Certified Organic sticker, the land has to be free from prohibited substances for three years.
This may seem like a long time, but it is necessary for the land to complete a transition period. The land needs time to be rid of non-natural components so it can return to its natural cycles and processes.
Prohibited substances are those that are not natural. This includes anything genetically modified, synthetic or chemical. The major culprits for farms are pesticides, chemical fertilisers and genetically modified seeds.
A field history is developed to keep a track of what is happening on the farm, the products used and the crop harvested.
It is a good idea for farmers to have definite boundaries and buffer zones if they are near any conventional farms. They should also identify possible risks of contamination, including chemical drift and runoff. These factors can affect your crop and may mean a farm cannot meet the requirements.
The benefits of going organic
There are many benefits that come with organic farming. The soil fertility and structure is boosted, which leads to healthier crops and animals. The nutrients in the soil are passed onto plants and animals – studies have shown organic meat and produce is more nutritious with better taste.