Organic production is usually thought of as growing foods or fibers without the use of synthetic fertilizers or synthetic pesticides, or in the case of animals without using extra hormones or antibiotics. In reality, organic production is a system of practices that relies on biological cycles to minimize diseases and pests, and to help maintain fertility. Take a look at the definition below from the USDA National Organic Standards Board.
“Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”
Although many farmers may use practices that are also used in organic production, for a farmer to market their products as organic, they have to be in compliance with the requirements of the National Organic Program. In addition, growers in Georgia must register with the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Read more >>
Demand for organic produce is a huge opportunity for Georgia's farmers but there can be barriers for small to mid-scale specialty crop producers. Georgia Organics has teamed up with the Georgia Department of Agriculture for the 100 Organic Farms Campaign. This campaign is for first time farmers giving them access to training and marketing assistance. It also helps remove the financial barrier to USDA Organic Certification by reimbursing the full cost of organic certification up to $1,000 for farmers pursuing it for the first time. The details are at this link.
The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has several ongoing efforts in organic production. Click on the links below to learn more.
- Certified Organic
- Organic Production Systems
- Georgia Specific Information
- Southeastern US Specific
- Organic Grain and Field Crop Production (North Carolina State University)
- Sustainable Vegetable Production (North Carolina State University)
- Organic Production - Small Farms Alternative Enterprises (University of Florida)
- Organic and Sustainable Production - Growing Small Farms (North Carolina Cooperative Extension)
- Organic Vegetable Production in Alabama (Auburn University)
- UGA Organic Agriculture Certificate Program