Planning for Transition Period Important for Organic Switch

Gigi DiGiacomo, co-author of Organic Transition, a Business Planner for Farmers, Ranchers and Food Entrepreneurs, offered some guidance for farmers transitioning to organic production in a feature in Minnesota Farm Guide. DiGiacomo advised farmers to plan for the three-year transition period when crops cannot yet be sold as organic, but yields can drop due to changing management practices. She emphasized producers’ need for three business plans during transition: the conventional plan they began with, a plan that takes them through the three-year transition period, and a final plan for organic operation when transition is complete. DiGiacomo says that a gradual transition of part of a property at a time can be one way to offset transition costs, as can transitioning land while it’s in alfalfa. She also suggests beginning transition in the fall, so that the third year’s fall crop can be marketed as organic.