History of Organic Production

In 1907, almost 100 years ago, when this land was first broke, all production was organic. Methods were slow and many times the weeds and pests were hard to control.  The farm has now reverted back to its roots and many of the early methods are being used again to control pests. How I wish now that I could talk to my Grandfather about some of their long forgotten methods.

In 1997 we began the transition to organic production. By 2000 all the land was certified organic. We have had some disasters and some successes. In 1999 it quit raining and we have had 4 years of devastating drought. By July, the grasshoppers had eaten what was left. In the yard all the trees were stripped of foliage and the grass was crispy brown. In 2002 there was no crop, not even enough seed for the following year. Fortunately at the time of this writing in 2004 we have had ample rain. The crop yield was good but quality was not as good

Any farm system needs water and organic systems are no exception. In order to have green manure plow down crops you need rain. Organic systems still rely on tillage to control weeds and that leaves the land vulnerable to erosion on dry years. We use reduced tillage as much as possible and when it rains we try to continually crop the land with direct seeding techniques and so far this has worked well. This is a relatively new practice for the organic community but one that I feel will catch on. A lot of trial and error goes into the transition and if we can survive the disasters we should be all better off.  I think the land is starting to appreciate not being poisoned and is beginning to perform better as a result.