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Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises

Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises

Organic Agriculture

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) is the only federally regulated production system in the U.S. that requires farmers and ranchers to use practices that maintain or improve the quality of natural resources, including soil and water, and to use preventative and cultural practices to manage pests before applying compliant pesticide products.  The program includes a rigorous annual oversight and certification process to enforce compliance to production standards. According to the USDA’s 2016 Certified Organic Survey, Florida organic crop sales totaled 72 million dollars in 2016 accounting for nearly 10% of total US organic crop sales. Industry trends suggest that organic sector sales are likely to continue to increase.

UF/IFAS organic resources include 45 USDA certified organic acres of land for research and hands-on learning, active research and Extension programs in the areas of pest management, nutrient and water management, protected agriculture, social sciences and the development of Community Food Systems.  UF/IFAS offers an on campus undergraduate degree in Horticultural Sciences with specialization in Organic Agriculture, as well as a student farm. UF’s Diagnostic and Other Services have experience to assist certified organic farmers.

This page contains information relevant to USDA certified organic farmers. References included on this page that do not clearly distinguish organic and conventional recommendations in the content but that are of interest to organic farmers are located in the Additional Resources section of this page. All transitioning and certified organic farmers must obtain approval in writing from their certification agency prior to making any changes in their organic system plan.  

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