One of the major challenges that organic farmers face is the transition period in switching from a conventional farm to a certified organic farm. Under current USDA rules, the soil on a farm needs to be verified by an organic certifier that it has not been sprayed with toxic pesticides for the previous 36 months.
This presents a serious financial hurdle for farmers because they are essentially being asked to farm organically yet must sell their products in the marketplace at conventional prices for three years.
An excellent new program called the National Certified Transitional Program (NCTP), developed by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and in partnership with the USDA, is seeking to make this transition period less burdensome for farmers, with the goal of getting more of them to switch to organic. Read more »