Consumers are pushing for food and products grown organically, free from synthetic pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs. Demand is outpacing production, creating a ripe opportunity for farmers who become certified organic.
Top 10 reasons to grow organic:
- Access to robust organic marketplace
- Increased profit potential, partly due to fewer purchased inputs
- Reduced exposure to toxic agricultural chemicals
- Improved soil performance, especially in droughts
- Yields that can equal or surpass non-organic systems
- Better water quality on your farm and the surrounding area
- Increased biodiversity in the soil and on the land, with more beneficial insects, pollinators and wildlife
- More effective planning based on your production records
- Backing of research showing organic’s environmental and health impacts
- Easier marketing with clearly defined USDA organic seal
BONUS: Costs of organic certification can be reimbursed through the USDA cost share program.
Go more in-depth
- How to become certified
- What is allowed in specific types of production
- How to market your organic products
- How to contact national organic agriculture agencies and organizations
Download PDF Guidebook
Download a free Fact Sheet:
What is Organic Agriculture? provides a brief overview of farming practices and certification rules. (2 pages)
How to Choose a Certification Agency & the Organic Certification Process offers questions to ask prospective agencies and fellow farmers to help you choose the best agency for your operation. Also provides details about the process of becoming certified. (2 pages)
Facts about Organic Agriculture examines common myths about organic farming and counters with the real facts. (4 pages)
Looking for a certifier?
Our Upper Midwest Organic Resource Directory includes listings for organic certification agencies.Search the Directory
Learn more about organic farming from the USDA.
In the news:
Many people in the sustainable farming community are at the same place we were a few years ago, farming using organic practices and marketing under sustainable, natural, or no-chemical labels. Like we did, they believe that organic certification is too cumbersome, expensive and of little benefit to their operation. They wonder, “Is there really that much to be gained for all the efforts needed for that piece of paper?” Actually, there is. Read the full story.
There are many benefits to organic certification. Farmers become certified for a variety of reasons. Some producers see market opportunities while others have different motivations like consistent land stewardship. Read more.
This brochure provides an overview of the USDA organic regulations and how USDA supports organic agriculture. It includes information on getting certified, funding opportunities, and educational resources.
An overview of the USDA programs and services available to the public that either directly or indirectly support organic agriculture. Some programs have the specific purpose of assisting organic farmers, ranchers, and handlers, while others may be of interest to a variety of individuals, including those in the organic industry.
Growing for a changing climate:
Organic farming practices improve soil quality, which supports stronger crops that can handle the stress of extreme weather.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: Wake Up Before it is too Late
To feed the world and save our environment, experts reporting to the United Nations 2013 Conference on Trade and Development recommend reversing course from high input, unsustainable, modern production methods and adopting organic and agroecological farming practices. See report here.
Learn more about:
See more videos of organic farmers here.