Course, online farm-plan template ready for testing
The Rodale Institute’s online training course brings you practical application of basic organic principles.

Posted January 18, 2008

“Transition to Organic” is the name for an expanding toolkit of online resources from The Rodale Institute. These farmer-centered tools:

  • Highlight the benefits of organic farming.
  • Assist with decision-making to assess the economics of risk and potential.
  • Show how to convert a farm to meet organic certification standards.

Jeff Moyer, farm manger at the Institute, is your guide as you learn about the principles and practices of organics in the Transition to Organics course (www.tritrainingcenter.org/course).
You can work at your convenience, in any order, through modules on soils, crops, livestock, marketing and certification. Moyer shares his 30 years of experience in pioneering organic grain systems at the Institute, and invites many other farmers from across the United States to share the details of their organic successes and challenges.

The course tackles weed management and other production challenges, then shows how organic producers can capture the farming difference in the marketplace through maintaining quality and organic standards.

We’ve put the Organic System Plan (OSP) worksheets (developed by our friends at ATTRA) online at www.tritrainingcenter.org/osp, allowing you to apply the principles in the course to your own farm. This plan is the first step toward certification, and helps your organize orderly consideration of all aspects of farm conversion. Filling out the OSP walks you through many of the points an inspector will check, from asking about your fertility plan to documenting the use of allowed materials.

Together, the course and the online OSP will advance your knowledge about organic farming practices anyone can use, and will help you decide whether seeking certification is a step you want to take on your farm.

To test the economic returns of any size field under two different scenarios, check the Farm Select calculator (www.newfarm.org/farmselect). You can test results from organic and non-organic treatments, or from different crops on the same land. This tool uses the nearest available USDA data tied to your ZIP code, but you can enter your own data wherever you want.

Questions? Comments? Write to us.