Pennsylvania farmers seeking to convert to organic cultivation can now get assistance from consultants at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown thanks to a new partnership with the state Department of Agriculture.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding introduced the program during an event at Jaindl Farms in Orefield. Jaindl Farms produced 60,000 organic turkeys in 2018 and is shifting some of its corn and soybean crops to organic.
“Pennsylvania’s partnership with Rodale … will provide a new opportunity to producers and consumers alike,” said Redding. “By increasing access to resources and technical assistance, farmers will be able to more easily expand and diversify their operations and consumers will have more options at the farmer’s market and grocery store.”
Rodale Institute’s consulting services will be available to help farmers interested in transitioning from conventional to organic agriculture. Farmers can get advice in areas such as certification, crop rotation planning, recordkeeping, marketing, equipment advice, weed-control methods, soil sampling and seed sourcing.
“Family farms can make a living on the organic price premiums, while protecting the health of our soils, air, and water, and providing healthy, nutritious foods to our families,” said Jeff Moyer, executive director of the Rodale Institute. “Transitioning to organic isn’t just about not using pesticides. Farmers need education, mentorship, one-on-one coaching and advice to make the switch.”