Early on, pretty much all forms of crop production could have been deemed organic because all of the chemicals, such as fertilizers and fungicides, just were not in development or available yet. However, through the years, agricultural business owners took turns into raising crops in different ways–often times using various chemical compounds to do what they thought was right to protect their crops from disease and insects or support larger growth records. If you have been farming in the traditional manner using regular pesticides and other chemicals and now want to transition to organic farming, you should know that this can be a bit of a process. To transition to certified organic crop production, you can expect to submit several documents to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Organic System Plan - The organic system plan is part of the application to apply to be a certified organic farmer. This document gives detailed information about how you plan to produce organic crops. You may be required to fill in information about the fertilizers you plan to use and how you intend to protect your crops from disease and pests without the use of chemicals. It is because of this document requirement that it is best to know a little about things like organic crop production fertilizer and certifiable organic compounds that can be used to ward off certain types of pests.
Map of Your Farm - A map of your farm is an important thing in the eyes of the USDA when determining if you can grow organic crops. This map will give a detailed view of where your cropland is located on your property, but will also give insight into things like:
- the proximity of cropland to atmospheric contaminants
- if the cropland is far enough away from other farm staples, such as fuel containers
- whether runoff from surrounding farmland could affect your ability to grow true organic crops
Field History Reports - Field history reports will be a detailed breakdown of what you have previously used your fields to grow and what kind of products you have used to grow these fields. This is important because in some cases, a field that has previously been fertilized or sprayed with chemicals will not be qualified for use for organic growth for several years because the compounds can hang out in the soil for a span of time after application.