Organic Production

fruits and vegetables

Organic production is a system that integrates "cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity." (Source: NOP) Find subject guides and links related to:

USDA Organic Literacy Initiative

USDA. Agricultural Marketing Service.

The Organic Literacy Initiative connects current and prospective organic farmers, ranchers, and processors with USDA resources. Available resources include Organic 101 training for the public and for USDA staff; "Is Organic An Option For Me?" brochure for farmers, ranchers and businesses; a USDA Organic Resource Guide 2012" to USDA programs; and the USDA Blog that highlights organic topics.

2011 Certified Organic Production Survey (PDF | 2.41 MB)

USDA. National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The survey results show that USDA-certified organic growers in the United States sold more than $3.5 billion organically grown agricultural commodities in 2011. The survey results include statistics on organically produced field crops, organically grown fruit and vegetables, organically raised livestock, value-added products and marketing outlets.

USDA Organic Resource Guide 2012 (PDF | 1.7 MB)

United States Department of Agriculture.

This guide describes and links to organic and organic-related United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services. Some USDA programs specifically target organic farmers, ranchers, and handlers. USDA also provides research data and technical information; delivers organic education and knowledge to other USDA programs and the public, and offers marketing and infrastructure programs that assist with business development and marketing of organic operations.

2012 Organic Land Grant Assessment (PDF | 1.42 MB)

Organic Farming Research Foundation.

The Organic Farming Research Foundation measured the level of organic activity at Land Grant institutions based on research, education and outreach. Factors included degrees or certificates offered, certified organic land acreage, organic Extension resources, and organic/sustainable college farm operations

Understanding Organic Pricing and Costs of Production

National Center for Appropriate Technology. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

"This publication provides resources to compare organic and conventional agricultural prices, discusses organic production costs, and offers tips on how to set organic crop prices."

Organic Agriculture: USDA Accomplishments 2009-2012 (PDF | 40 kb)

United States Department of Agriculture.

Learn about the progress of USDA programs in organic agriculture.

Find Financial Resources for Farmers.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

USDA offers several programs that help organic farmers and ranchers meet the natural resources conservation requirements of organic agriculture. Other USDA programs are available for beginning, niche and small farmers; marketing programs; or crop and livestock insurance.

Database of USDA-certified Organic Operations

USDA. AMS. National Organic Program.

Search the Agricultural Marketing Service database for USDA-certified organic production and handling operations based on specific criteria.

Oral History Interview Series

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

A list of oral history interviews (some available online) with people who have provided leadership and inspiration in the field of alternative or sustainable agriculture. IFOAM also highlights Pioneers of the Organic Movement.

Covered wagon sitting in the shade under a tree. [Source: IStock International, Inc.] Tracing the Evolution of Organic / Sustainable Agriculture

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

Discover the philosophical and scientific roots of sustainable, regenerative agriculture through readings dating from the 1500s.

carrots planted in soil Organic Roots

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

Search Organic Roots, an electronic collection of historic USDA publications related to organic agriculture. Contains almost 800 documents published before 1942 (before synthetic chemicals became widely used) that contain data that are still very pertinent for today's agriculture.

Crop Conversion Calculator

Rodale Institute.

Create a side-by-side comparison of conventional and organic management of crop(s) and acreage on your farm.

USDA Organic Farming Systems Research Conference

United States Department of Agriculture.

View webinars from a 2011 national conference that examined findings from U.S. research on organic farming systems, including two key types of research--long-term farming experiments and nationwide economic producer surveys.

Organic Seed Suppliers Search

National Center for Appropriate Technology. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Searchable database of organic seed for agronomic and horticultural crops.

Organic Seed Finder

Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA)

Database of organic seed vendors searchable by field crops, fruits and vegetables, and other organic crops.

State of Organic Seed: Advancing the Viability and Integrity of Organic Seed Systems

Organic Seed Alliance.

This report is a "comprehensive analysis of the challenges and opportunities in building the organic seed sector." This ongoing project monitors the "status of organic seed systems" in the United States.

America's Organic Farmers Face Issues and Opportunities.

USDA. Economic Research Service.

"The number of certified organic crop and livestock operations and acreage under organic management has grown rapidly over the past decade, but adoption of organic farming practices in the U.S. still lags behind many other countries."

Data Sets: Organic Production

USDA. Economic Research Service.

Data, presented in 13 tables, show the change in U.S. organic acreage and livestock numbers from 1992 to 2008.

Marketing U.S. Organic Foods: Recent Trends From Farms to Consumers

USDA. Economic Research Service.

Examines the growth in organic markets, price premiums and characteristics of the customer base. Explores successful supply chains.

Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry

USDA. Economic Research Service.

Heightened consumer demand for organic food has out-paced organic production during the past decade leading to input and product shortages and other emerging challenges.

fresh greenbeans Organically Produced Foods: Nutritive Content

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

Bibliographic references (from 2000 to 2008) to literature and studies focusing on nutritional qualities of vegetables, fruits and meats produced in organic systems. Continues SRB 2000-03

small apple Organically Produced Foods: Food Safety Issues

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

Bibliographic references to literature and studies that relate directly to food safety issues of food produced from organic agricultural and/or handling practices.

Reading Rooms: National Organic Program

University of Arkansas. National Agricultural Law Center.

Site includes an agricultural law bibliography; Congressional Service Reports; and references to statutes, regulations and other information relevant to organic agricultural production.

How to Go Organic - Resource for Organic Transitioning

Organic Trade Association.

Pathway to Organic offers a wealth of information for farmers and processors transitioning to organic production. Features searchable North American Organic Directory and guides to key organic resources by region and by sector.

Organic Agricultural Products: Marketing and Trade Resources

USDA. NAL. Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.

Serves as a starting place for entrepreneurs who are considering an organic enterprise and for producers of organic commodities who are researching potential markets and marketing schemes. Assists in identifying market suppliers and outlets, market research and regulatory programs.

A Brief Overview of the History and Philosophy of Organic Agriculture. (PDF | 605 KB)

Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Reports on the origins of the organic agriculture movement, legislative developments and current regulations, and organic farming and foods.