Organic Dairy Transition

Organic farmers must follow National Organic Program (NOP) rules for their crops, livestock and livestock products to be sold or marketed as organic.  Prior to selling your products, your operation must be issued an organic certificate through an accredited USDA certifying agent. If you are thinking about transitioning to organic production, here are a few things to consider.

1

Before You Begin

Decide if your farm is a good candidate for organic production. If so, determine if CROPP membership is a good fit for your operation.  CROPP Cooperative has financial, professional and educational resources to help you transition to organics. To discuss membership with CROPP Cooperative, call the Farmer Hotline at 1-888-809-9297 or email us at farmerhotline@organicvalley.coop.  Below are resources to help you decide if organic farming is right for you and to help you become a certified organic farm.

2

Selecting an Organic Certification Agency

For a farm to market or sell agricultural products as organic, the operation must be issued an organic certificate by an accredited USDA certification agent.  The purpose of certification is to verify that all farms meet the production requirements of the standards.  Building a relationship with your certifier is critical to your success and it is encouraged to contact an agent early in the certification process.  Below is a link to USDA accredited certifying agents.  

3

Planning Transition

It's important to plan a system of recordkeeping. Prior to land being eligible for organic production, you must document that no prohibited inputs were applied for three years.  Prohibited inputs include GMO seed, conventionally treated seed, and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  Not all farm fields need to be certified at the same time. Many producers certify some of their fields in the first year and add other fields later as the fields become eligible.  To document that a field is eligible, you must provide a field history that no prohibited inputs were applied in the last three years.

4

Transitioning Animals

Prior to beginning your herd transition, contact your certifier to discuss your transitioning plan and the date you plan to sell organic milk or meat.

More information about transitioning animals here.

5

Certification Takes Time

Submitting your plan can seem overwhelming, but remember your certifier can guide you through the process and answer any questions related to getting certified.

More information on getting certified here.