How Long Does it Take to Become Organic: Organic Myths Part 1

I constantly hear a lot of misinformation thrown around about organic farming, so I am going to do a series on organic farming myths. This will be a great time for you to ask questions about organic farming too. Do we use chemicals? Do we let our animals suffer? Can organic farmers use GMOs? etc, etc.

Today, I am going to start simple.

How long does it take for a farm to be certified organic?

organic, family farm, minnesota, local food

 

When a farmer starts his or her journey to becoming certified organic they must complete a transition period. The transition period is an allotted time that a farmer much use ALL USDA National Organic Program (NOP) rules and regulations before the farm can be certified organic.

Land=3 years

Livestock= slightly more complicated. You can read the entire Electronic Code of Federal Regulations Title 7 Part 205.236 (but you won’t so I will summarize). On a dairy farm, the dairy animals are certified organic after a one year transition period. Any calves born to those animals are automatically organic.

Does that make sense? Let me know if it doesn’t and I will try to clear up the mud.

Transition periods are monitored by a third party certifying agency. We use MOSA. Also, even though farmers can chose different third-party certifying agencies, all farmers must follow the same rules. The rules do not change from region to region nor from certifier to certifier.

I hope that clears the air on that myth. I have seen/heard people post/say that it takes 5, 10, 0, etc years to transition to organic. Now you know the rules.

I am sure you have questions, so please post them and I will try to answer them the best I can.

Make sure to subscribe to our blog (upper left hand corner). Next week I will tackle the myth: Organic Farmers Can Still Use Chemicals

14 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take to Become Organic: Organic Myths Part 1

    1. Zweber Farms Post author

      No problem Janeal. If you ever get a question you don’t have the answer to, please feel free to contact me. I happy to help. Organics can be very confusing and there is a lot fo misinformatin out there~Emily

  1. Sonja Jennings

    I asked a farmer at the Cupertino Farmer’s market if his corn was organic. He said he used no pesticides but it takes 7 years to get certified to be an organic farmer. His farm was from Brentwood. It seems like this farmer lied to me. His farm was D & S or some other intials. Now I do not trust that he was telling me the truth. His corn is going in the trash. Good thing I checked first.

  2. Laura

    Can you address how Organic farming does include and allow pesticide use? Differentiating between natural and/or synthetic pesticides, their applications in amount and frequency? I think too many people believe Organic means absolutely NO pesticides, when this is in fact not accurate.

  3. Craig

    What if the land has been resting for 6 years, no farming no chemicals of any kind. My land has not been monitored by anyone. Can it still be organic certified?
    Thanks!!!

  4. Larry Lindner

    If land was not fertilized only Grass was cut off it for the last 4 years can it be certified organic this year? Records were kept on this through farm service Agency .

  5. Beryl

    Should I buy peaches from an orchard that has been transitioning to organic for 1 1/2 years? He says he must wait 3 years to be certified but hasn’t used and chemicals for year and a half

  6. rohit

    Hello sir , my question is , once a cow get a disease and a vaternary doctor comes to check her and than gives a prescription which has all non organic medicines . will that cattle would stay certified organic afyer taking those meficines and injections ? or that cattle needs to be out of heard for a specific time … ? or are there any organic or ayurvedic medicines available ? pl reply

  7. Sally Reinhardt

    So it takes three years to transition to organic from an already existing farm. What about land that has never been used for farming before, is it the same? This land was cleared of weeds by mechanical means, not chemical.

    Also what a bout a small cottage garden. Only one that is used to grow herbs and food stuffs for a small family. Size is 10’ x 20’.

  8. Sally Reinhardt

    So it takes three years to transition to organic from an already existing farm. What about land that has never been used for farming before, is it the same? This land was cleared of weeds by mechanical means, not chemical.

    Also what a bout a small cottage garden. Only one that is used to grow herbs and food stuffs for a small family. Size is 10’ x 20’. I have heard it is only one season or year but am not sure.

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