Guest Post: 3 Questions to Ask Before Transitioning to Organic Farming
Given today’s market conditions, now might be the right time for you to consider transitioning acres to organic row crop production.
Organic farming may not have seemed as feasible—or practical—when commodity markets were stronger. But as demand for organic food continues to trend higher, prices for organic corn, soybeans and wheat remain well above those of their conventional counterparts.
This presents you with an opportunity to increase profit potential on your operation.
Are organic row crops right for your farm?
If you’re exploring a transition to organic, here are three questions you’ll want to ask yourself to help inform that decision:
1. Are your fields well suited for organic production?
Fields that are larger, relatively flat and not irregular in shape are generally better for organic row crop production. This is because it’s easier to do tillage work on them as compared to fields that have a lot of point rows or extreme slopes.
You’ll also want to be sure your fields include areas that don’t get too wet over prolonged periods of the season, especially around planting when you’ll need to get in to do fieldwork.
2. Can you build and sustain the necessary management capacity?
Farmers who enjoy the most success with organic production have good management skills and are able to execute their plans. There are more details to oversee compared to a conventional system, too, and thus good management is a necessary component of a successful organic farm.
3. Are you willing to learn and adapt as you build an organic operation?
Organic farming requires an open mind and a willingness to try new approaches. To be successful in organics over the long term, you may not be able to rely on some of the tried-and-true crop rotations employed in conventional farming.
As with any venture that looks for new ways to achieve outstanding results, transitioning to organic farming depends on embracing the learning curve. Everything may not go as planned, especially not the first time, but there is almost always a suitable solution or workaround to be found.
One of the key benefits that organic farming provides you is the ability to scale your operation in a way that makes sense for you. In fact, conventional crops and organics can both play a role on your operation—either for the short term or indefinitely.
And if at any point you decide organics are not the right direction for your farm, you can easily return to a fully conventional operation. Initiating the transition process offers the opportunity to increase your margins and your profits in a range of market conditions.
Get help evaluating your options and making a plan
If you’re interested in transitioning acres to organic or expanding your current level of organic production, we strongly recommend that you work with an adviser like AgriSecure. No matter what stage you are in, it’s never too early—nor is it ever too late—to consult with experts who understand everything that goes into a successful transition to organic.