It’s not easy as a farmer to make the transition to growing food that can be certified organic.
First, there is the cost of certification, followed by a three-year transition period in which the land must be farmed organically but the harvest cannot yet be sold as certified organic.
It used to be even more difficult. In addition to all of the steps mentioned above, the transitioning farmer had to endure the sniggers of the local coffee shop crowd who questioned the sanity of anyone who would stop using proven fertilizers and pesticides to grow a crop.
A couple of months ago, I caught up with a couple who made the transition of their wheat farm to organic in the mid-1990’s.
I couldn’t help but ask why they made that decision.
“It’s simple, the wife replied, “Jack was getting ready to go out and spray the crops one day, and had pulled the tractor into the yard with the spray rig attached. He came into the house to grab a cup of coffee. I looked out the kitchen window and saw our two children playing on the tractor. I had to yell out the door for them to get away from there.
“We had a long talk that night. It just seemed crazy. We live on a farm because we want to raise our family where there is lots of open space and fresh air. And yet, there I was, terrified that they were going to get poisoned. After that, the decision to go organic was easy.”
One of the main factors for the growth in organic food sales today is that parents want to limit the exposure their children have to harmful chemicals in their diets.
It’s nice to know that buying organic food is also helping farmers avoid exposing their children to those chemicals as well.